Sep 222010
 
Authors: Sarah Millard

As a stereotypical college student, I have an unnatural, unreasonable and slightly disturbing obsession with Jon Stewart.

My bleeding liberal heart yearns for twilight, when I can crawl into bed, cuddle with my copy of Hillary Clinton’s autobiography and spend 30 minutes in sheer bliss with my favorite Jewish TV host.

Needless to say, when I saw that both Stewart and Colbert are hosting opposing rallies on Oct. 30 of this year, I jumped for joy and ran screaming around my house until the neighbors threatened to call the cops.

But then, as a stereotypical college student, I realized that I did not have the money or the time to attend this once-in-a-lifetime presentation by my idol and the beacon of all things good in this world. I, again, ran screaming obscenities throughout my house until the SWAT team showed up and took me away, where I spent 30 days in a padded cell, twitching back and forth to the tune of The Daily Show.

All satirical attempts aside, Jon Stewart is a funny man. And to some, it may be alarming that a large portion of college-aged students get most of their news from his show.

To others like myself, that statistic is nothing new. The Daily Show provides 25 percent news with 75 percent entertainment, which our connected culture craves. We, as a society, no longer enjoy sitting down with our dinner to watch national news. We like things quick and we like them dirty, and the Daily Show provides all of that.

In the last year, viewership of the Daily Show and the Colbert Report has grown roughly 9 percent, according to recent Comedy Central polls. Even more striking is that, among adults ages 18-34, viewership increased 22 percent.

While other cable news networks such as Fox News and MSNBC continue to raise their ratings, Comedy Central is becoming a staple and a leader in the fake news world.
But what constitutes fake? While the Colbert Report certainly stretches the stories that it provides and includes Stephen Colbert’s alter ego’s take on world matters, the Daily Show can hardly be accused of such.

While Jon Stewart does not break news, he reports events that occur on news shows and commentates like some of our other beloved anchors on stations considered “real” news. And while one cannot deny that Stewart presents himself as a liberal, he will not hesitate to comment on stupid things that the Democratic Party does.

Some argue that the upsurge in young adult viewership of these shows is leading to a more uninformed youth based on Stewart’s liberal principles. But, in order to understand what Stewart presents, one must have at least a vague understanding of what is going on in the world. And if that is not the case, then it can be argued that Stewart provides an excellent jumping point for young adults to actively get involved.

If someone watches the Daily Show and is exposed to an idea, event or policy that they had never heard of prior to the show, then they are already more informed about the aforementioned event. And though one can argue that said someone will only see Stewart’s side of the argument, the same could be said about any news program.

Furthermore, by simply watching Stewart’s show, someone who had no knowledge will have gained some, which is better than having none at all.

By no means am I trying to present Stewart as a legitimate news anchor.

He is a comedian, and like Colbert and Glenn Beck, he presents his side of things with a personal twist. It just so happens that adults ages 18 to 34 are falling head over heels for his side.

So can Stewart’s rally be considered politically genuine? Not even close. But the rally symbolizes everything this generation stands for: fun, humor and a general appreciation for the outrageous.

Those who oppose the Stewart/Colbert rally on the basis of fake news indoctrination need to heed Stewart’s advice and take it down a notch.
And while I would love to discuss this more, I need to get going. The King of Jordan is on the Daily Show tonight.

Sarah Millard is a senior political science major. Her column appears Thursdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 2:54 pm

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