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How Can Satirical News Sometimes Cause More Reaction Than Regular News?

Nov 03, 2013 | 10:00am EST

Why Does It Take A Satirical News Show To Get ResultsOlivier Douliery/PictureGroup

There was an interview recently on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart that did more damage to the GOP party than the entire shutdown. What happened? A Republican precinct chairman in North Carolina was interviewed on the show and said some really dumb, racist things. You could tell they were going to be in that vein when he said, "My best friend is black." Yup, that practically set up a neon sign. After the show aired, he then resigned his position.

Yes, I know it wasn't Ted Cruz doing something like that, but it did wind up being a bloody nose for the GOP, however small it may be. They probably don't even care, given that Congress has approval ratings lower than contracting ebola. Yes, I'm sure that many people would rather bleed from every orifice than trust politicians implicitly.

The thing is, when it comes to media, journalism has been king for many, many years. People would trust what was read in the newspapers and many news anchors were held in such high esteem that they might as well have been nominated for sainthood: Walter Cronkite, Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings, Dan Rather, Diane Sawyer...the list goes on. But now the media is being viewed through a prism of mistrust. It seems like more people are listening to Stewart and Stephen Colbert on Comedy Central than someone like Piers Morgan on CNN or anybody on FOX News. 

What helps Stewart and Colbert (well, Stewart more, since Colbert is a persona) is they can take an irreverent view on it that is still surrounded by truth and can expose the hypocrisy of what goes on in the government. Maybe the media got too high up on its pedestal and began thinking it could tell people what it wanted to behind its own agenda, even under the pretense of fair reporting. The Comedy Central duo tend to get under the hood and shine their light on what goes on there. Maybe they could call themselves "America's Auto Mechanics."

So maybe people should hope that Stewart gets many more politicians to appear on his show to show what they really stand for instead of having it sanitized on the news. Maybe in a couple of decades from now, we'll look at Stewart like we looked at the other anchors. And that's no laughing matter.

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