Satirical tradition needed more than ever in newspapers

Re: Tired politics in need of fresh satire, Guest Comment, Oct. 11.

To the Editor,

Re: Tired politics in need of fresh satire, Guest Comment, Oct. 11.

Jim Zeeben’s article on satirical journalism was a breath of fresh air.

Today’s news is often full of rehashed arguments that fail to provide new insights on the issues they describe. Not only that, opinion articles that debate the current hot-button issues can become negative, leaving readers with a feeling of despondency.

This is why we need more satire in the news. When done well, satire can shine a new and refreshing light on stale issues while giving them a comical perspective. And it doesn’t have to take away the importance of the subject matter.

Take The Daily Show with Jon Stewart for instance. One of the most popular faces on television, Stewart brings a humorous slant on serious issues by showcasing the absurdity in America’s increasingly polarized politics.

His satire is effective because the political system he is reporting on is so defective. With cable news networks outwardly supporting their political party of choice, it’s easier now than ever for politicians to abuse the public trust and not be held accountable for it.

Enter Stewart, who skewers the rampant political hypocrisy and media bias through comedic monologues and comedians acting as faux journalists.

In an online poll conducted by Time Magazine, Stewart was voted as America’s Most Trusted Newscaster, beating out news anchors from NBC, ABC and CNN.

One must keep in mind that The Daily Show airs on The Comedy Network, a network that includes shows like South Park and Just for Laughs. The fact that viewers take him seriously can only speak to their dissatisfaction with conventional news.

People also take him seriously because they see him as taking the issues seriously. His satire does not obstruct the content of the news – instead, he states the facts in an ironic tone and brings to the surface the hypocrisy and duplicity found in much of today’s media and politics.

Stewart takes what the Onion has been doing for years and puts it on television.

His primary viewership is between 18 and 35, a demographic that has grown up during the partisan era of Bush and Harper, and a demographic that needs satirical news in order to stay sane in the face of calamities like our current economic recession and global climate change.

Stewart, and his protégé Stephen Colbert, are so popular because of the positive way in which they present such depressing news.

When done well satire can both be trustworthy and insightful, and Stewart has remarkably accomplished these.

As Zeeben stated, at one time satirical columns were common in newspapers, and I think it’s time to once again renew this tradition. Let’s bring some much needed perspective and humor back to today’s news.

David Geselbracht

Nanaimo

Just Posted

Douglas Holmes, current Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District chief administrative officer, is set to take on that position at the Regional District of Nanaimo come late August. (Submitted photo)
Regional District of Nanaimo’s next CAO keen to work on building partnerships

Douglas Holmes to take over top administrator role with RDN this summer

Neighbours fight a small late-night bush fire with garden hoses and shovels in Cinnabar Valley on June 5. They couldn’t get help from local fire services because the fire was located in an area under B.C. Wildfire Services jurisdiction. (Photo courtesy Muriel Wells)
Nanaimo residents on edge of city limits left to put out bush fire themselves

Cinnabar Valley residents tackle fire with hoses and buckets for two and a half hours

Nanaimo artist Dave Stevens is displaying paintings inspired by arbutus trees and the Millstone River at Nanaimo Harbourfront Library from now until the end of fall. (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo writer and artist’s work goes up at Harbourfront library

Dave Stevens presents work inspired by arbutus trees and the Millstone River

The courthouse in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file)
Nanaimo man, already in jail, found guilty of sexual abuse of sons

Man previously sentenced for sexual interference involving girl in Nanaimo

Stuffed toys, many with donations pinned to them, are piled in the Lions Pavilion at Maffeo Sutton Park at a vigil May 31 honouring the 215 Indigenous children whose remains were discovered outside a residential school in Kamloops. (News Bulletin file photo)
Thousands donated to child and family service agency following Nanaimo vigil

Toys and money donated to Kw’umut Lelum child and family services

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps near Nanaimo

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Christian Eriksen in stable condition, Euro 2020 match resumes

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

Most Read