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The North Wind

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The North Wind

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas Wiertella April 30, 2024

I’d rather be watching ‘The Daily Show’

“The Daily Show,” and its uncouth host Jon Stewart have spent the last decade creating laughs based on the same things that most networks consider serious. At its heart “The Daily Show” is a satire, meant to be taken with a grain of salt, but sometimes it far out-serves that purpose.

Recently, Stewart clashed with CNBC’s “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer. Stewart rightfully accused Cramer and the network of a lack of journalistic integrity involving advice about the collapsing stock market. The feud culminated last week, when Cramer appeared on “The Daily Show” in an effort to stage his own defense. Predictably, the results favored Stewart.

I am a firm believer in the historic notion that the primary goal of the press is to serve as a watchdog of the government. A fourth estate ensures the rest of the country remains at least somewhat accountable for their actions. But what happens when the press reaches a state where it is no longer accountable for itself? Who is in charge of watching them?

The answer has been provided from an unlikely source: a comedy show that only airs for half an hour, four nights a week on a cable network.

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Sure, the object of “The Daily Show” is to spin a day’s happenings, often as broadcast by news networks, into something guaranteed to raise a smile. But what I have realized, along with an ample amount of the American public, is that ironically, “The Daily Show” provides the most truthful spin there is.

I’m sure there is danger in taking such an amusing news program seriously, but there is more danger in taking a “legitimate” news source completely seriously. It is far too easy for major news conglomerates to go overboard and lose sight of what they should really be communicating to the public. And far too often, the public will blindly believe what these major news networks espouse, never once questioning the fact that they might be wrong.

We live during an age of the 24-hour-a-day information network. CNN, MSNBC and FoxNews provide news coverage around the clock on television and the Internet. This allows them to continually update the public on the latest happenings and the most dramatic recent moments, instantly after they occur. Even when some of these networks are broadcasting their regularly scheduled programs, tickers with the newest headlines run along the bottom of the screen.

As a society that feeds on instant gratification, this should be all we need to fulfill every single one of our news desires. But it seems that maybe this isn’t true. Could it really be possible that the best recap of the day’s events comes from a comedian?

Stewart didn’t go to broadcasting school, nor does he ever claim to be a legitimate journalist. He doesn’t encourage people to take his advice seriously, even though it often provides the most frank, insightful look into politics and mass media that there is. This is a man who once worked as a puppeteer and who often creates laughs by facial expression alone.

But we still believe him. I could watch CNN all day and have the same information driven into my head hour after hour. Or I could watch a 22-minute program and learn most of the things I wanted to know. Not to mention I’d get a few laughs in the process.

Whether it is because it is meant as comedy, or because a major news conglomerate doesn’t have control, “The Daily Show” continues to fill a crucial role in society.

When the watchdogs can no longer check themselves, it is comforting to know that there is someone who will.

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