Now that Comedy Central is back on the air with their “news” programs telling them what it is they are supposed believe.
Those who know me know that I enjoy humor and politics as much as religion (that is a redundant statement). But what irks me about these folks, Jon Stewart in particular, is the way in which they believe they don’t have to follow any standards since they are doing comedy, but at the same time fervently expect us to take them seriously. This coupled with the fact that so many Americans DO take them seriously is “nervous making me.”
See this Pew Report from last April to get a sense of where and how well our country know their news. You can even take a news quiz there.
Here’s Your Score: You correctly answered 12 of the 12 possible questions along with approximately 6% of the public. You did better than 94% of the general public.
(It isn’t very hard.)
3 thoughts on “America Under 30 Can Think Again”
I am not sure what standards they don’t follow. It is satire, which requires a certain level of critical thinking from the audience to determine what is fact and what is joke, but Stewart follows some fairly high standards.
The Pew Trust you mentioned listed regular watchers of the Daily Show and the Colbert Report as scoring just as highly on the test as newspaper readers and the audience of Jim Lehrer. They were slightly ahead of O’Reilly, Limbaugh, and NPR. Now, those who watch the Daily Show are presented with the kind of factual information graded by the Pew quiz, so that is not surprising. But remembering facts is quite different from critical thinking.
I scored 11 out of 12 on the test. I missed the Dow Jones question, mostly because I don’t usually pay attention to specific numbers in the economics news.
Thanks for the comments Kevin. I suppose I wasn’t very clear. I spent much more time articulating my view of Jon Stewart a while ago in this post. (Bear in mind, I like Stewart and his comedy very much.) Jon Stewart has maintained for years a running criticism of the “real” news outlets on cable saying that they are not really “balanced” as a news program should be, but are simply two heads yelling at each other. He is correct, on the surface. When challenged that he is as biased as Tucker or Begala, Stewart’s defense is “We come on after puppets making crank calls!” Ah, but he still wants us to take him seriously. See my other post for my full rant, I mean, explanation.
As for the Pew study, you are absolutely correct, the Daily Show viewers do as well or better in a current event quiz. But that says little about how well they can analyze and think critically about the issues. (Needless to say this is true about “Dittoheads” and “Olbermaniacs.”) The reality is I like the DS approach and try to use humor in the classroom, where appropriate, myself since I believe it does help students to retain information.
I agree, I remember when he went on Tucker’s show and trash talked him for not having journalistic integrity and pulled the same “I’m just a comedian” stuff.