Monday, March 26, 2007

News & the Fnords & Jon Stewart

I don't really pay that much attention to the news. I browse the BBC and the local paper's website but I read few stories. Up until about a year ago, I was a huge news addict. I'd read, easily, two hours of news a day and was very up-to-date on almost everything. But after several years of that, I saw the fnords and realized most news was literally deception and the more I read, the worst off I became. Garbage in, garbage out, after all. No amount of reading false data would get a good result, I figured, so I stopped. One of the best thing I did. Better to read books and, at least, get something resembling scholarship.

However, as I've said before, Jon Stewart makes me laugh. Hell, he makes a lot of people laugh. However, according to this article (that I found on the PunkAssBlog site), Jon Stewart is as good as the news. I quote:

“There have been a couple academic studies recently of those shows, where researchers study the actual news content in those shows compared to the broadcast news media,” said Rick Swanson, Ph.D., a political science professor at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. “They discovered there was just as much actual news content – news information – given by “The Colbert Report” and “The Daily Show” as there are in the actual news media broadcasts. And so, believe it or not, students are learning just as much about the news as they would be if they were watching a mainstream news outlet.”

The study, completed this year by Julia Fox, a telecommunications professor at Indiana University, showed that “The Daily Show” had about as much hard information during the 2004 presidential campaign as the average nightly news broadcast.

Huh. The article goes on:

“In an absolute sense, we should probably be concerned about both of those sources, because neither one is particularly substantive,” Fox continued. “It’s a bottom-line industry and ratings-driven. We live in an ‘infotainment’ society, and there certainly are a number of other sources available.”

It's been obvious to me for a while that the "news" is nothing of the sort. Still, it's nice to have someone with a lot of letters after their name confirm the obvious.

This is particularly fascinating for me because, out here in the blogosphere, we live in a news saturated environment. We all post stories and talk at great length, and great passion, about them but the truth seems that they're largely void of content worthy of the effort we put into them! And, worse, out here in the blogsphere, we are largely aware that the news sucks and we still do it!

Jon Stewart's way is better. He makes me laugh. Because, let's face it, the news doesn't contain much information but it is very funny. Especially if you like black humor.

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