Jon Stewart. Am I the only person who remembers him from that movie Big Daddy with Adam Sandler?! I hadn’t watched a full episode of The Daily Show before this week. I watched Tuesday and Thursday’s show online. It’s annoying you can’t get away from the commercials even if you watch it online! Tuesday’s ‘news’ portion focused on a story about President Obama apologizing for medical experiments carried out on Guatemalan mental patients in the 1940s, where they were infected with syphilis (in a variety of disgraceful ways).
Lewis Black also did a segment about an NBC series on education and the documentary ‘Waiting for Superman’. I saw Lewis Black doing stand up in Ireland last summer. He’s incredibly jittery in real life which makes him hard to watch. I also literally ran into him on his way offstage in a dash to the restroom. I hope that’s not my claim to fame.
Thursday’s show talked a lot about house foreclosures, which I’d already heard a bit about in the news.
Do you notice how Stewart brings actors on to talk about their movie and then doesn’t talk about it once? And how he always seems to be promoting his rally or his book? On Thursday he spent half his interview with Naomi Watts talking about some benefit he organized that she attended.
The ‘soft news’ approach makes the stories covered more accessible and digestible, especially for people who do not watch ‘hard news’. However, I agree with Xenos and Becker that political comedy is a ‘supplement to, rather than a replacement for, traditional hard news.’ (p319) I would not watch The Daily Show in the future to get my daily dose of news.
During my Google news browsing I didn’t find myself actively seeking out political stories. I looked at a story about Fox’s Glenn Beck sending out Mormon coded messages on his show because I wrote about Glenn Beck in a previous post. I was interested in the foreclosure story on The Daily Show, especially because the situation is similar in Ireland so I read a story in the Washington Post about the moratorium. AP had a story about anti-gay bullying strategy in schools following a recent spat of suicides amongst teens. Apparently conservatives think it’s ‘unnecessary and manipulative’ and will sway feelings towards homosexuality. I scanned a lot of international news but didn’t read more than the first paragraph.
I picked up on stories I was previously interested in. Watching The Daily Show didn’t make me automatically interested in political stories. I was just as interested in finding out more about Naomi Watt’s new movie as politics.
Baum talks about factual knowledge effects of ‘soft news’ and how ‘soft news’ may be more suited to ‘influencing attitudes and providing informational shortcuts’ (p 181) than providing long term learning. I agree. The Daily Show brought topics such as foreclosures to my attention but I did not pay close attention to details within these stories.