All along, TV news has had the objective of informing viewers what is happening in the country and the world at large. Many people have been watching TV news because of in-depth reporting that news reporters portray. In the recent past, there has been a change in the TV news content. Most TV news nowadays is satirical and ironical of what is happening. Satire and irony in TV news ranges from politics to other recent news stories. By being satirical, TV news’ form has changed from being informative to being entertaining. Many people are nowadays watching TV news for entertainment, rather than for knowing what is happening around the world. This paper discusses the general concept surrounding TV news, particularly the notion that the news is ‘fake’ and satirical. In addition, the paper looks at the effect of TV news on the lives and believes people regarding where they can get information on politics and other recent stories.
A perfect example of TV news that uses satire and sarcasm to inform viewers is the Daily Show that is hosted by John Stewart (Knapp, 2011). The Daily Show started in 1996 and was then hosted by Craig Kilborn. John Stewart took over in 1999, and since then, the show has been hilarious more than ever. During the show, Stewart introduces celebrities and uses satire to analysis recent news headlines. Most people do not watch the show because it is informative and educative, but because of the entertainment that it offers. A recent study shows that only 10% of its viewers watch it for news headlines, compared to 64% of the CNN viewers who watch it for headline news. The Daily Show takes the form of a comedy, and this has attracted a large portion of viewers. In today’s world, TV news is trying to criticize what is happening in a satirical way (Fox, Koloen & Sahin, 2007).
Another example related to Stewart’s Daily Show is The Colbert Report. These two late night shows employ satire to provide news to the viewers. The two shows integrate news, entertainment and discussions on public affairs. The effect that such shows have on their viewers is imminent. Apart from informing and eliminating their viewers, such shows provide entertainment, which is a significant reason for the viewers being glued to the TV’s screens (Knapp, 2011). Shows that employ satire and other stylistic devices to convey the news to the viewers attract more viewers than those that do not. The secret behind this is that before want something that will keep them focused to the TV news. No one would want a joke to pass by and, therefore, will concentrate on what the host is talking about.
For a long time, the belief has been that TV news should serve the sole purpose of informing citizens. The recent changes in media houses and TV show has contributed to a big shift in the beliefs of people. The Daily Show, and other TV shows that employ satire and other stylistic devices, have attracted more viewers than shows that still employ the traditional systems (Knapp, 2011). Many viewers like what will not just inform them, but something with an extra or added benefit. The Daily Show provides ‘fake’ news, but amazingly attracts a large number of viewers (Fox, Koloen & Sahin, 2007).
Many people claim that today’s TV news is ‘fake’. This could be true, but the fact is that the TV news accomplishes its function; to inform viewers. John Stewart may be hilarious and satirical in the way he describes political figures, but the fact remains that his viewers are educated and informed on the topic he desires to educate them on. Many people watch his show for entertainment, but in the process, they are informed on recent news. TV news should look at an aspect that viewers like and expound on it. This will attract more viewers, which in turn could increase the number of advertisements. This means increased profits to the broadcasting corporation (Knapp, 2011).
Fakeness in TV news appears only in the minds of people who do not understand the function of satire. Satire, if well employed, is one of the stylistic devices that can cause a better understanding of a situation. Unfortunately, this stylistic device is least understood by many people. One of the reasons why it is misunderstood is that it is based on irony. Irony is more misunderstood than satire, making the understanding of satire extremely difficult. When viewers understand the function of satire in TV news, they appreciate the substance of the TV news. Satire can be used to speak truth where outright disclosure may draw conflicts.
TV news is becoming a potential ground for analyzing political figures, especially the during campaign periods. TV news that employs satire, for instance the Daily Show, is common to the young generation. A recent study reveals that more than 80% of its viewers are aged between 18 and 49.The claim that young people are attracted to it because of its comedy nature is an undeniable fact, but it is also a fact that through the Daily Show, many American youth are educated on news headlines. Many young people are not interested in political news; they like news on celebrities and other entertainment news such as sport news. If making a political show hilarious and comedy-like will attract their attention, then this is an inevitable step to take.
TV news in today’s broadcasting stations give viewers a different perspective of political figures. Some people claim that shows such as the Daily Show inflict damage on political figures, but the reverse is also true (Knapp, 2011). Knowing the dark side of political figures may cause flaws in their career, but it also gives viewers a more informed look and analysis of the political figures. This is particularly crucial during elections. Some voters just vote for political figures for no apparent reason. If these voters are made to understand the candidates wholly, they are likely to make more informed decisions.
A debate arises as to whether ‘fake TV news’ are more effective than real TV news. From recent studies, it is evident that people are more attracted to ‘fake news’ than the real TV news. The reason for this trend is not because people do not like the truth, but because people like knowing the truth in a different manner. Hidden truth is sweeter that that truth that is outright. Hosts in TV news shows, who are able to employ the idea of providing fake news while in the real sense providing real news, attract a large number of viewers.
Another example related to Stewart’s Daily Show is The Colbert Report. These two late night shows employ satire to provide news to the viewers. The two shows integrate news, entertainment and discussions on public affairs. The effect that such shows have on their viewers is imminent. Apart from informing and eliminating their viewers, such shows provide entertainment, which is a significant reason for the viewers being glued to the TV’s screens. Shows that employ satire and other stylistic devices to convey the news to the viewers attract more viewers than those that do not. The secret behind this is that before want something that will keep them focused to the TV news. No one would want a joke to pass by and, therefore, will concentrate on what the host is talking about.
People ask if there is a relationship between political satire or comedy and politics. The truth is that satire in political news helps to measure if there is any effectiveness in politics. Many comedians tell political jokes. In the process, the audience gets a different perspective of the politics that the comedian is talking about. This means that any TV news host who delivers his or her program in a comedy-like manner is likely to attract many viewers. During a campaign period, satire in TV news will enable a voter to analyze the candidates from a different perspective. This may end up having the effect that candidates who are worth the positions are elected hence an excellent government.
Some researchers are against comedy like shows like the Daily show by John Stewart. Some studies show that watching TV shows such as the Daily Show decreased viewer participation in political activities (Colleta, 2003). This is because these shows make the viewers have a negative evaluation on the presidential candidates. The studies argue that this phenomenon mainly affects the young voters. TV shows that reveal the negative side of candidates by use of satire increase the cynicism of young viewers towards news media and electoral system. Unfortunately, these studies do not show whether the show increase or decrease the young people’s participation in politics. The researches may have demonstrated that exposure of the young people to shows such as the Daily show increases mistrust and cynicism, but did not correlate findings to political participation (Colleta, 2003).
There could be, however, a negative attribute of these comedy news shows. For instance, although Stewart’s show is persuasive, some young viewers become more confused after the show, especially on political issues. The show makes it harder for them to understand politics. In some cases, TV news shows exhibit exactly the opposite of what a viewer believes, for example, on a political candidate. After such a show, the viewer will have a divided mind and may end up making a wrong decision during voting (Colleta, 2003).
Another possible negative impact of TV news employing satire and comedy-like nature is that the shows try to criticize the image that other TV news employs. The prime purpose of TV news is to educate and inform the learners. In the recent past, there has been a blurred distinction between entertainment and news. The TV news employed by such hosts as Stewart poses a significant challenge to historical conventions that have been used overs years in the enforcement of this distinction (Fox, Koloen & Sahin, 2007).
In conclusion, TV news should adopt a format or form that will attract the highest number of viewers possible. The main purpose of TV news is to educate, inform and teach viewers on what is happening in the world. Many people like entertainment and if TV news is to attract many viewers, it has to be entertaining. TV news hosts such as John Stewart of the Daily Show have realized this secret and are already applying it (Knapp, 2011).