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News Parody Programming

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John Stewart’ s The Daily Show, as a non-convention form of news, gives the impression of being a bonafide news source when in fact it is inherently a parody. While more than 1 million people watch The Daily Show on a regular basis, Feldman reports that parody news media has replaced news for disaffected young people, who choose not to watch conventional news or participate in the democratic process. Literally, thousands of viewers learn about the conditions of day-to-day life from these sources and shows like John Stewart’ s The Daily help frame their worldviews.

As The Daily Show competes with regular 11 pm newscasts, it becomes for some the only source of news and information (Druick 301-303; see McKain 2005). As these shows help shape people’ s perceptions of news media and are sometimes the only sources of news for Americans, are these shows transparent, do they offer diverse points of view, and do they take responsibility for the truth of the claims they make? Unlike other news media which more often than not subscribes to a strong ethical code conduct and behavior, news parodies are first and foremost comedic undertakings aimed at inciting laughter.

While educating the wider public may be a nice side effect from watching either The Daily Show or the Colbert Report, they remain satirical in nature with the entire purpose of putting a humorous spin on the news. Do people trust The Daily Show or the Colbert Report as their primary source for news? Absolutely. Is this a positive thing? No, because these shows are more about entertainment and shock value than actual news.

may trust John Stewart or Stephen Colbert because they are appealing characters and one feels that he or she can relate to the news when it is delivered by either of these hosts. We often forget that both of these men are actors, playing a role and delivering news in the funniest and most outlandish way possible. Unfortunately for some, this is their only source of news media.

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