07
Apr
11

The Daily Show: Government Shutdown

News of a possible government shutdown has been floating around my internet news feed and the nightly news broadcast that I frequent. It was only a matter of time before this somewhat confusing piece of current events made its way to The Daily Show. A government shutdown, apparently, occurs when the parties and the two houses of Congress can’t come to an agreement about the budget for the coming year. These days with the Republicans and Democrats butting heads on every single issue, it’s really no surprise that they can’t come to a consensus on the budget. The Senate has not yet voted on the budget and certain Republican politicians (*cough*EricCantor*cough*) are saying that the bill will become law regardless of the Senate’s action. This is just not true.

In the clip I’ve linked to below, Jon Stewart focused mainly on the politics and partisan bickering that has been taking place around the issue of this government shutdown. There has been fierce slandering from both sides of the aisle and, of course, Eric Cantor’s attempt at black magic to negate the rules of our Constitution.

This clip was politically relevant because the government shutdown, though confusing to the general public, is looming over our heads. People keep telling us that we’ll feel the blow from the shutdown after this weekend (if it does indeed happen). But Jon zeroed in on the most important part of this story – the fact that our politicians can’t even compromise enough to let the government keep running. What does that say about who we’ve voted into office?

For a Few Dollars More

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07
Apr
11

The Colbert Report: The Youth Vote

In amidst the flurry of fun and pure entertainment that was the April 5th episode of The Colbert Report, Stephen took another stab at Tim Pawlenty, potential presidential candidate. As I was thinking about writing this, it occurred to me that you might wonder why Colbert has been attacking Pawlenty so fiercely lately. Honestly? I think it’s just a matter of convenience. Political satirists are going to talk about and make fun of those who are actually in the news cycle. So far, Pawlenty is the only Republican to put himself out there as a viable candidate in 2012. Everyone else seems to be dragging their feet when it comes to making that announcement. So, Pawlenty has fallen prey to Colbert’s hilarious ribbings.

Earlier this week, Colbert talked about Pawlenty’s “connection” with the youth vote. I was cringing as they showed the clip of Pawlenty making Lady Gaga references and clumsily quoting Charlie Sheen at a Young Republicans’ convention. Pawlenty has already had to deal with the accusations that he is too boring to run for president, now he’s just embarrassing himself by trying to get the kids on board with his candidacy.

Tim Pawlenty Appeals to the Youth Vote

05
Apr
11

The Daily Show: Base Race 2012

On the March 30th episode of The Daily Show, host Jon Stewart reported on the election in Base-istan. A supplemental Tweet to the day’s episode gave the stated definition of base-istan: “A far-away land where everybody is afraid of everything.” In two segments that were a part of the ongoing project “Indecision 2012,” Stewart covered the potential presidential campaigns of Rick Santorum — the man with the ill-fated name (don’t Google it, trust me on this one) — Newt Gingrich, Haley Barbour, and  — if you can believe it — Donald Trump.

Since the segment began with the idea of “Base-istan” and a “base race,” Stewart’s fake news centered on how these potential candidates are pandering to their base. A “base,” in political terms, refers to the subset of people who are die-hard members of your respective political party. Strategically speaking, a politician wants to get in touch with their base as much as they can before an election.

So, what is politically significant about these “Base Race” segments? The fact that they focus only on Republican candidates. These days, the political pendulum of interest has swung pretty definitively toward the right. We all know that President Obama is running for re-election, so all eyes are on who will be running against him from the other side. I’m glad to see Indecision 2012 segments showing up on The Daily Show because the show is usually at its most interesting and satirical when it’s election season!

Indecision 2012 – Base Race – Santorum, Barbour, & Trump

Indecision 2012 – Base Race – Bachmann, Cain, & Gingrich

05
Apr
11

The Colbert Report: Colbert PAC

As I said in my introductory posts, The Colbert Report tends to have strings of episodes that are full of segments just-for-fun. For instance, two weeks ago, the show was dominated each day by segments centered on the auction of Stephen’s latest anniversary portrait for charity. But, every now and again Stephen does a segment that pertains to something politically apt and innovative for a political comic.

This past week, on the March 30th episode of The Colbert Report, Stephen returned to a topic he’d brought up earlier – his PAC. By definition, a PAC is a political action committee, or, “a private group, regardless of size, organized to elect political candidates or to advance the outcome of a political issue or legislation.” In past episodes, Stephen had shown the PAC commercial produced by Tim Pawlenty on his show and had then shown his own mock-up commercial for “Colbert PAC.” On March 30th, that political action committee took another step toward becoming a reality.

Stephen’s coverage of other political action committees and the creation of his own is important because PACs are all the rage these days. Anyone looking to be elected knows that they need a PAC to help them achieve that goal. According to Open Secrets, “PACs can give $5,000 to a candidate committee per election (primary, general or special). They can also give up to $15,000 annually to any national party committee, and $5,000 annually to any other PAC.” If Stephen Colbert, a satirical pundit, has his own PAC, there’s no telling what he might do.

Colbert PAC – Trevor Potter

05
Apr
11

The Daily Show: At Not-War

On March 22, The Daily Show tackled the question on everyone’s mind: what is going on in Libya? As those who watch the news will probably know, Libya has been in turmoil for weeks. The dictator there, Muammar Gaddafi has been firing on his own people because they’re revolting against him. The fight took a turn for the worse as it was discovered that the rebels had insufficient weapons to fight back.

Seeing this as a humanitarian crisis, President Obama has seen it fit to send US forces into Libya to intervene on behalf of the rebels. Jon Stewart took on this issue in a segment that termed the engagement in Libya, “not-war,” saying that we opened a can of “no-fly ass” on the Libyans.

Stewart’s segment on the intervention in Libya was apropos because it was the talk of the town as soon as The Daily Show and The Colbert Report returned from their week-long vacation in the middle of March. Stewart dealt with the Republican response to Obama’s move in Libya as well as criticism that the President was receiving for not communicating with the American public about this move. I thought this was a very apt segment that hit on the issues surrounding this new excursion into Libya.

America at Not-War

America at Not-War – Obama’s Communication Gap

23
Mar
11

A Post of Introductory Proportions

Hello, good evening, and welcome to the Fakenews Follow-up. This blog has been created as part of an assignment for a blogging workshop that I took last weekend, but who knows what it will become? Many ventures are often begun without the end in clear sight, and this is one of those ventures. Personally, I’d love to continue this blog past the due date of my five posts, but we’ll see how it pans out.

The purpose of this blog is to analyze the political relevancy of segments that air on The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. I will try to give equal space to both shows because I see them oftentimes as a single unit, one hour of television with a similar purpose. There are times when I enjoy one show more than the other on any given night and I will admit a bias toward Mr. Stephen Colbert, but I’ve noticed that The Daily Show focuses more on actual news and The Colbert Report sometimes exists of pure fun segments. At those times, The Daily Show is likely to receive more coverage on this blog.

In any case, if you’re a fan of either or both of the shows, welcome! I hope that you enjoy your stay and I hope you find what I have to say interesting.