Posted on behalf of Lisa Barry:
The media seems to have a profound effect on audiences as we have seen through our discussions of framing and agenda-setting. What we haven’t discussed is how an audience "uses" media. Society believes that we are less informed if we are watching Entertainment Tonight rather than our nightly news, but is that true? Can audiences just be more aware of certain aspects of the news (such as entertainment) rather than “hard” news and still be considered knowledgeable?
On this topic, Baran and Davis state, “Many of us might argue that most current-day news media transmit “infotainment” that actually serves a negative function in that it produces ill-educated citizens or citizens who actually become less involved in the political process…”(236). I believe that a great counterexample to this argument would be such shows as The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
MSNBC wrote a great piece on this debate concerning The Daily Show and FOX News. Bill O’Reilly stated that only “stoned slackers” watch Stewart and this is a disservice to our country because these “slackers” are eligible to vote, and can inevitably cause great harm. However, it turns out that Stewart's audience is statistically of higher education, a possibly great rebuttal from Stewart and Comedy Central. https://mail.quinnipiac.edu/owa/redir.aspx?C=525a49c154624e5ca34a0bd939ffd9b2&URL=http%3a%2f%2fwww.msnbc.msn.com%2fid%2f6117542%2f
Do you agree with O’Reilly in his argument that news-comedy shows are not showing the facts of news stories, and ultimately making their audience unaware and less educated? I do not watch Jon Stewart personally, and have only seen clips of his show but I believe that even if he is putting a comedic spin on world news, isn’t his audience at least getting a general idea of what is going on because he is poking fun at it?
Television seems to be an escape from reality for most people as McQuail states, “Television can thus from time to time, but not particularly often, meet a need for escapism and a need to get away from the people around” (360). Do we watch entertainment shows to get away from our day to day routines, and do shows such as The Daily Show helps us in this endeavor because our nightly news is just too depressing?