A d F o n t e s

(Latin: "to the sources")

My Favorite News: Stewart, Colbert


I’m a news junkie. My wife makes fun of me because I’m the only person she knows who will sit through entire hearings on C-Span, most of which are 2-3 hrs long…and I confess, sometimes several times. Each. Most senators won’t even sit through a full one (trust me, I know–ask me about your favorite congressman). Part of the reason is that I simply prefer getting the words from the horses mouth and don’t mind sitting through 3hrs of sheisty grandstanding to form my own opinions. But I also simply care much less for daily news shows like CNN and NBC news: too short, underdeveloped, lop-sided, hypie, no real content, entertainment-oriented, viewer-pleasing, etc. And in my case, as a historian you become all too used to knowing when someone’s doing a shoddy job telling the story, and with shows like that it just gets too exhausting to turn all the filters on. Just not worth it.
By far, however, my favorite news shows are John Stewart’s The Daily Show and Stephen Colbert’s The Colbert Report. This might sound like a contradiction, but it’s really not. They’re funny for sure, but if you’re up on the current issues in news, they show how remarkably informed they are–and worse, just how terrible the other daily news shows are and illustrate with plenty of examples. Especially Stewart: he makes a point in every show to demonstrate just how problematic the daily news shows are. If you listen carefully, both shows good arguments why if you watch the daily news you could end up much more misinformed about your world than if you hadn’t turned them on in the first place, and why .

The older I get, the less I lament the decline of news stations. They did it to themselves. It wouldn’t be so easy for Stewart if they did a better job–it’s like shooting fish in a barrel.

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June 17, 2009 - Posted by | TV

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