Satire as news

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    I love satire and parodies, but I would NOT want to turn to a comic book of political cartoons for my news. I fear that over the course of the last 20 years, this is the direction that society, particularly youth culture, has taken.

    In the early 1990s, The Rush Limbaugh Show achieved great success in syndication. I believe that the show originally was conceived to be like political cartoons on the radio. It was satire. Unfortunately, some listeners who lined up ideologically with the show’s pro-Republican Party stance bought in to the concept that there was a conspiracy in conventional news to bias reporting in favor of Democrats and in the general direction of the political left. These people took the show too seriously by regarding it as a source of unbiased journalism.

    Shortly after the turn of the century, younger Gen-Xers and Millennials increasingly started to turn to programs on Comedy Central as viable alternatives to network TV news, cable TV news, and newspapers. In that era, a man a few years younger than I said to me, regarding the success of The Daily Show, “That show is so successful because news is a joke.” That remark troubles me to this day.

    In the last recent years, snarky, sarcastic blogs and Websites have been going increasingly mainstream. When people post links and headlines to forums like this, it is becoming increasingly difficult to discern truth from deliberate exaggeration and, in some cases from outright hoaxes.

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