Can Entertainment be Real News?
Are we evolving or devolving as a result of technology?
While the explosive growth of internet and the emergence of 24 hour news shows have certainly had attendant changes on the accessibility of news and the American public’s news habits; today the overall public’s level of political knowledge is less impressive than that of the 1980’s print and periodic news show informed Americans.
A study by the Pew Research Center showed that the increased availability of news media has little positive impact on how much Americans know about national politics. In 1989, 74% of Americans were able to name the United States Vice President, Dan Quayle, while in 2007, 69% of Americans were able to name our country’s Vice President, Dick Cheney.
Late night political satire shows such as the “Colbert Report” and the “Daily Show with Jon Stewart” are becoming the predominant source of news for teens and young adults. While shows like these expose people to imminent issues, their purpose is not to keep the public informed of newsworthy topics, but rather to offer comedic commentary. Yet, these late night shows are becoming an increasingly popular source of information. For some young people, they are their only source of current events and political knowledge. This is clearly not the purpose of these shows.
While newspaper articles and news shows serve to inform and provide facts to their audiences, the popular late night political satire shows take information and process it to provide highly biased content for viewers. They editorialize accurate breaking news and should be considered a secondary source or a form of entertainment.
Our parents grew up with newspapers, radio news, and news shows which were broadcast in the evenings as their information sources. Currently, news is presented in many more forms to young people. It is important that teen’s opinions are shaped without subjectivity. While all forms of news reporting can be considered, standard, reliable media forms which present the facts should endure as a primary source of news.