Parodies and satire really have taken over the airwaves in the last 5 years. It seems every channel has their own comedian “journalist” to give their take and spin on the portrayal of “real” news. Steve Colbert and Jon Stewart are household names, and to many, are viewed as exceptional journalists. Satire is the new news, or as Rachel Sotos describes it, “the fifth estate.”
I personally find news satire hilarious. It is always fun to make fun of people and situations that are presented in such a serious manner. I think news satire can really put things in perspective for people. As Rachel Sotos explains in The fake news as the Fifth estate, “we become critical consumers, if not more responsible citizens.” Satire really engages it’s audience by presenting serious issues going on, and 1. makes fun of the way it’s handled, 2. Presents other points of view, and 3. Really makes the viewer critically question and think about what is being presented.
Sotos touches on the fact that satire, more than ever, is crucial in keeping check over the fourth estate. The fourth estate, known as the press, must be watched and checked just like the government has checks and balances. Without this “fifth estate” as Sotos puts it, the fourth state could publish any material seen fit, giving society a one sided or false interpretation of events. Without the fifth state, the media department could skew news for their benefit. Sotos informs that “6 mega-corporation: Disney, Viacom, Time Warner, GE, News Corp, and Bertelsmann, own 90% of the media (television, newspaper, internet, magazine, film, radio, and cable).” It’s really interesting to think about what and why we are hearing the news we hear. Are we controlling what they play? are they showing us what they feel we need to know? are they simply presenting the news? is it fact? bias? skewed? missing information? There really are more questions than answers, but it’s basically a yes to all. In the media industry , it’s all based on viewers, ratings, money, and power.
Soto explains how satire has been around for years, “Franklin wasn’t only a man of many inventions, but also the first “american humorist”.” Humor and sarcasm is a great way to reflect and evaluate the circumstances of the situation. It informs society of the news, yet does it in a way that provokes thought.
This younger generation really seems to cling to news satire. Jon Stewart and Steve Colbert really do a great job of capturing the essence of satire. These young viewers don’t want to watch Fox news all day like we are 50 years old. Every time I go to my parent’s house, it’s Fox News this, Fox news that. And every time I am there I fall asleep watching it… so boring lol. Also, media today is so bias one way or another. It’s hard to really know what’s fact, and what is their interpretation, what is their agenda. I feel satire has a way of showing all these flaws and biases through humor, something people enjoy and understand. A lot of people retain and comprehend information better when they are actively engaged in the conversation. Satire helps to interest the listener with reality and “truthiness”.