Friday, October 06, 2006

When Fake News is more Real than... Real News.

You hear many people lament over the fact that young people these days are only learning things about politics and current events on comedy shows such as Saturday Night Live or The Daily Show.

Who would have thought that fake news, as Jon Stewart himself calls his show, contains just as much truth as real news and substance as traditional network news? That says a lot about the traditional news.

Well, that’s at least the findings of a study by professor of telecommunications Julia Fox (Indiana University) who compared The Daily Show to ABC Evening News, CBS Evening News, and NBC Nightly News by professor of telecommunications Julia Fox of Indiana University:

Not surprisingly, a second-by-second analysis of The Daily Show's audio and visual content found considerably more humor than substance -- Stewart himself has insisted that he is a comedian and not a journalist. A similar analysis of network coverage found considerably more hype than substance in broadcast newscasts. Examples of such hype included references to polls, political endorsements and photo opportunities.
"In an absolute sense, we should probably be concerned about both of those sources, because neither one is particularly substantive. It's a bottom-line industry and ratings-driven. We live in an 'infotainment' society, and there certainly are a number of other sources available."

So if the media only offer “infotainment”, and if the choice is between hype and humor, I'll choose humor anytime – at least I'll enjoy myself more. Besides, Jon Stewart has the merit of not pretending to do anything other than comedy.

As for the "real" stuff, it seems we would rather turn to other sources indeed - the Internet or the radio has a indeed lot more substance to offer than TV... or even the blogosphere, even if it sometimes lacks both humor and substance! ;-)


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