Monday, August 18, 2008

High-Fives for Fake News

Journalism research today shows devotees of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert to be better-informed than watchers of cable news shows hosted by Lou Dobbs, Bill O'Reilly and Larry King, thereby raising the question of whether it's more helpful to lampoon the news than slobber all over it.

Asked which party now controls Congress, who is the current US secretary of state and to name the new prime minister of Great Britain, Comedy Central viewers outscored those who watch most cable TV news programs as well as those who claim to read newsmagazines and daily newspapers.

On the weekend, the New York Times asked, "Is Jon Stewart the Most Trusted Man in America?" with critic Michiko Kakutani concluding the Daily Show "has earned a devoted following that regards the broadcast as both the smartest, funniest show on television and a provocative and substantive source of news.

"'The Daily Show' resonates not only because it is wickedly funny but also because its keen sense of the absurd is perfectly attuned to an era in which cognitive dissonance has become a national epidemic."

What Stewart and Colbert tonight will make of two men aspiring to the most powerful position in the world being quizzed like schoolboys by a best-selling, pop culture clergyman remains to be seen, but it's clear that only connoisseurs of the ridiculous can do the sight justice.

1 comment:

David Gerard said...

Fake news is a demanding artform but an addictive one. I wrote a pile of stuff over the last couple of years for Uncyclopedia UnNews over the last couple of years - when UnNews is bad it's so-so, when it's great it's hilarious, and mostly it's good as a place where kids can be rotten.

There's some bloody awful fake news. I beta-test all my stuff on my family, who've learnt to put up with it. If they don't laugh out loud, it gets recycled for ideas!

I now write a fake news blog of my own (for vanishingly small amounts of money!) at . Tell you what though, if I just wanted raw hits I'd write nothing but Microsoft jokes and link 'em from Slashdot. (That Microsoft article is the most popular thing so far about 10:1 and is still 2:1 over the second placer in today's stats.)

Nice to see someone talking about fake news and its place in the world :-)