While reading The Media Ecosystem, I was really struck by something on page 53. López is discussing media control mechanisms and says this about shows like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report: 

While it’s true that these programs offer more critique of media than anywhere else in the offerings of the media cartels, the very fact that their criticism is contextualized as irony and comedy means that we can maintain emotional distance from critical issues without having to act on them. They serve as pressure valves that give the appearance that oppositional viewpoints are tolerated. Indeed, hegemony creates space for critique and alternative cultural practices, as long as they can be absorbed and contained within nonthreatening perimeters

This was really interesting for me to think about, because I am an active consumer of shows like these. Now that I see these shows to be simply another part of the hegemonic system, I will have to reconsider what it means to enjoy them. I am also curious what López would think of Trevor Noah’s recent interview with Tomi Lahren.

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3 responses »

  1. kristenhong says:

    That’s a really interesting way to think about those shows because so many people find humor and amusement in those programs. Also, many politicians make guest appearances on shows like The Tonight Show and The Colbert Report.

  2. carlywinant says:

    This quotes is really intriguing. I also watch these shows often and I haven’t thought about them in this way before. It’s interesting to see how they “maintain emotional distance from critical issues without having to act on them.” What would happen to these shows if they took a more activist stance/focus? Would it completely change the shows and would they loose/gain an audience for it?

  3. palomapineda19 says:

    This article hits on something I’ve been struggling with for a long time – TV films and shows that bring light to these issues but to little to bring anything but discourse and discussion. I think it is in part our role as the audience to take action on these issues.

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