Comedians More Trustworthy Than Journalists?
In a recent interview with CNN, comedian and host of Showtime's "The Green Room," Paul Provenza spoke about the fact that so many people get their news from comedic sources as opposed to actual news outlets:
I actually think that’s a good sign that people trust comedians more than journalists. At least with comedians, you know they are editorializing and opinionating - unlike ‘news’ outlets who do the same damned thing in the guise of reportage.
Even in jest, comedians are inherently more honest than the opportunistic, corporate-controlled so-called news.
The increasing importance of satirical news vs. actual news has been a subject of much debate lately, thanks in no small part to Jon Stewart's now infamous interview with Fox News' Chris Wallace. Stewart unapologetically defends his role as a comedian while decrying the failure of the media to provide actual journalism. It's that failure, some argue, that compels people to look for truth in jest, rather than truth in reporting.
Comedian and co-creator of "The Daily Show," Lizz Winstead has made a career out of the gap between what people want from the media and what they actually get. Speaking to the subject, along with strange bedfellow Christopher "Women aren't funny" Hitchens, on a media panel in 2008, Winstead explained what it is about 24-hour news that leaves people wanting more.
As the idea that media outlets are less news sources and more 24-hour filler between commercials becomes more prevalent, it's likely that the idea of satire as a doorway to truth will become more mainstream. Provenza's recent book "Satiristas" celebrates that notion with in-depth interviews with some of the best in the business, including Winstead, Stewart and the late George Carlin.
But it's not just the media that these satirists are targeting. Stephen Colbert has taken his larger-than-life persona into the realm of attempting to affect public policy with various stunts, including his week working as a migrant farmhand that culminated in a Senate testimony, and his more recent effort to establish a Super PAC.
So, what do you think? Do you trust comedians more than journalists and politicians? Where do you get your news?