A few months ago, I had an interesting conversation with an old boss of mine about the importance of news, and the difference between the various formats of news, as well as channels of news. Since traditional news services (newspapers, traditional 6:00 news, etc) were becoming consumed less regularly by millennials, he argued that it is having negative effects in society, and that my generation will be less educated than past generations. I am guilty of not utilizing traditional news services, as I do not always have access to newspapers, or cable television, and in general, it is far more inconvenient for me to access than more modern forms.
I have certainly watched my fair share of CNN, or Fox News, and it is for that reason that I generally watch video clips of segments from news pundits like Jon Stewart (The Daily Show, Comedy Central), Stephen Colbert (The Colbert Report, Comedy Central), or John Oliver (Last Week Tonight, HBO). I do not believe that these services should be any one person’s news intake and that in general, people should always look at various news services to search for unbiased news. One of the reasons I prefer these news pundits is because they do a decent job at offering accurate assessments of real situations from a human standpoint, rather than a conservative or liberal. I am not unaware that these shows certainly lean on the liberal side, however they do not exercise a strict liberal agenda. Don Gonyea of NPR has pointed out, and I have witnessed it personally, that Stewart has gone after both Democrats and President Barack Obama.
The primary difference between these different formats is that I trust figures like Colbert, and Stewart more than I trust figures like Bill O’Reilly, along with many of his peers at Fox News. While they are primarily comedians who relay news, they tend to be more successful at being respectful and unbiased. I have watched many interviews with hosts at Fox News, and I often times find myself embarrassed by the propaganda spewed from their station. I don’t always think that their content or arguments are invalid, however the manner in which they attempt to transmit the content is absurd; they try to put words in their interviewees’ mouths, tell guests to shut up, (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XrNl6-j9x5w) and argue even if they know they are wrong. Here’s a video of Bill O’Reilly arguing with Jon Stewart, in which he cannot find solid ground. He argues opinions, whereas Jon Stewart argues for facts, and while being unbiased is very difficult, Jon Stewart seems to be more successful.
I believe that many others like me feel the same way, and not only with these news services, but also social media. Between Facebook and hashtags, it is quite easy to share news pieces quickly and efficiently. The only danger is reading information and believing everything you see; it is important to always challenge and question articles, and find other sources that affirm information. I don’t believe that this shift is bad, or a pitfall of our generation. When discussing this with my past employer, I responded that I believe this change will simply allow for people to get news more efficiently and will create interest in keeping up with it.