Blog Entry #5: "Newer Formats"

“To the extent that these kinds of narratives reinforce the partisan political identification of viewers, and to the extent that they encourage those viewers to see the opposing party as morally weak or even evil, then it becomes more difficult to organize a public dialogue built around mutual respect, trust or openness.”

This quote is essentially exactly what I said in my previous blog prompts.  People are drawn to news and media outlets that reflect their own personal views and values, and those outlets, coincidentally, tend to demonize or bash the other side.  It’s extremely polarizing, especially if viewers/subscribers are not going out of their way to develop a well-rounded view and learn about perspectives different than their own.

I think that formats such as the listed shows both contribute to polarization (depending on which you watch) and raise the level of knowledge of their viewers.  I really enjoy The Daily Show with Trevor Noah and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver because they make politics entertaining and seem to offer credible sources for the news they report.  They break down difficult concepts and political/legal matters in a way that enables the general public to understand them, which is extremely important (to me).


  1. Good point. Whatever else they do, by making politics and policy debate more dramatic, such programs certainly make them more interesting. Of course, I think some of these shows are more effective than others at helping viewers actually understand issues. I don't ever walk away from, say, Hannity and Colmes with a heightened appreciation of the issues. Maybe that is my liberal bias peaking through.


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