I have heard it said that one should avoid relying on a single source for news.
You mean, like, even if that source is Jon Stewart? No. Way.
As a matter of fact, way.
In 2004 The Associated Press reported that, “21 percent of people aged 18 to 29 cited ‘The Daily Show’ and ‘Saturday Night Live’ as a place where they regularly learned presidential campaign news,” according to the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press.
Late one night in 2004 I just happened to be watching Stewart’s show when he mentioned this Pew study. After informing his viewing audience of their tendency to rely on his show for all their news, he stared wide-eyed for a close-up and said, “Don’t do that!”
I’m sure that deep down Stewart was lapping it up, and I suspect that the percentage would be higher if Pew conducted the same study now.
For years we subscribed to the daily paper and watched television news. We broke the TV habit about eight years ago, and I ditched the morning paper for National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition.” For years I read U.S. News & World Report (USNWR) for balance, but having a child stopped that.
Like the newspaper and USNWR, NPR spends more time on each story than the TV news does, and I don’t have to put up with commercials. Plus, it’s not as politically slanted as other media (but leans a little left). Somewhat ironically, I first heard NPR on a newspaper’s darkroom radio while working as a (paid) photojournalism intern, and it planted the seed that ultimately spurred me to cancel my subscription.
Well, that and the fact that I could get Dilbert for free online.
Believe it or not, that brings me to another of my news sources — Scott Adams’ blog. He’s the creator of Dilbert, and he posts serious articles as often as he does jokes. He works humor into all of it, but he also gets me thinking. That’s art.
Which is what we all look for in a news outlet, right? Okay, maybe not, but his topics and the discussions that result from his arguably above-average intelligence readers are much more practical than the (hilarious) bits on “The Daily Show.” Although he covers topics from religion to evolution to offbeat news of the weird, politics are Adams’ main focus lately, and he makes a lot of sense. See his site to see what he’s up to right now.
What about CNN or Fox News for political coverage, you may ask? Yikes. Surely those aren’t the best news sources on television today. Some, including his peers, say that the recently deceased Tim Russert ran one of the best shows out there, backing down to nobody regardless of party affiliation. I never watched him, so I can’t comment with any credibility. I do know, however, that never again will I watch Anderson Cooper after his botching of the Sago Mine Disaster, which I first wrote about back when it happened.
I don’t want to turn this into a political blog, but it’s hard to resist the topic completely during an election year.
My main point here is that, like Adams said on his blog, most people don’t know very much about world news or what makes a good presidential candidate. To know as much as we can, however, at the very least we should reach for a variety of sources in the process of becoming completely confused.
For example, from what I’ve read and heard, I figured that most countries’ opinion of the United States has plummeted in the past couple of years. Just a quick glance at Pew’s site reveals that from 2007 to 2008, in most countries polled favorable views of the United States went up. In South Korea the jump was 12 points and in Tanzania a whopping 19. Surprisingly, Japan showed the biggest drop — 11 points, while also showing more respondents somewhat or very interested in the US presidential race than those of us who live here.
What’s the Japanese word for “Daily Show?”
What is your news source?