Off and on over the last several years, I’ve read a number of opinion pieces that show that a majority of people my age (43) and younger get their news from online sources, or programs like The Daily Show or The Colbert Report, instead of newspapers or network news. The subtext of these pieces always seems to be, “Well, yes, I’m smart enough to know that Jon Stewart is being satirical, but do these dumb GenX people know it? I mean, what if they believe it? And those bloggers! My god . . .”
I’ll discreetly draw a veil over the absurdity of preferring news channels that highlight the “skills” of a person like Anderson Cooper, Paula Zahn, or Katie Couric over someone as obviously intelligent as Jon Stewart and his team, or as ballsy as Steven Colbert (one of the few people in the last 6.5 years to have the nerve to confront Bush to his face). Personally, I’d rather watch John Oliver or Aasif Mandvi’s faux analysis than yet more empty-headed sonorous pronouncements from Wolf Blitzer any day. But hey, that’s just me.
First, Jon Stewart can do something in under two minutes that the entire White House press corps seems to have been unable to accomplish in the last 6.5 years: call the Bush Administration on its lies and bullshit. And one of the beauties of Stewart and The Daily Show is that they actually call these people liars when they, you know, lie.
Also, you pundits? Are you seriously more worried that the folks getting their news online and via Jon Stewart–a demographic that skews towards the more educated and (obviously) computer-literate–is less-involved, less intelligent, and more likely to be fooled than people who only get their news from network TV, Fox News, or Rush Limbaugh? Really? Or are you just honked that you are losing audience?
I can’t speak for my generation–and heck no I’m not talking about Boomers, I’m talking about us what comes after the Boomers–but I know that for me, it’s a relief to be able to read and watch people who call liars liars, who write what they actually think instead of qualifying it with a bunch of weasly language. They may be biased, but at least you know their biases, and at least you know their opinions, which is often not the case with the high-profile pundits. (And this, I think, helps explain the boom in ratings for Keith Olbermann since he started venting. Now you know where he stands, and people like that!)