Comment Paper – 2: Soft News vs. Hard News


NB: Everyting above is my own opinion. Please, do not use them for your own purpose.

Satire?America has a more politicized media than any other nation in the world. As a non-American audience, it is difficult to find any non-political content in American TV programs. Politically motivated society produces not only political programs, like political debates and debate talk shows, but also comedies and satires whose content is also affected by political context. There are similarities between satire and comedy in both the content and the audience.

Satire is media which has its own content and has more expressions and emotions than in hard news. I think this is the main part of the satire as a communication tool, which is humanizing the contents and empathizing with the audience. Comedy is also a media and its entertainment function is dominating. I found two similarities in the content of these types of alternative media, which are emotions and expressions.  Paradoxically,  “Satire must have a target,” says Rachel Paine Caufield (2008,  p. 8.) and Guggenheim  says “Comedy, talk shows tend to target leading political figures for jokes, often in relation to their personalities” (2011, p. 291.). However, in satire “The ultimate target should be its own audience,” says Caufield. These two authors try to explain that satire and comedy have different audiences. Satire tends to target its own audience for entertainment, but in comedy the target is politicians. Especially, it is visible during the election time. Does this mean that main audiences in both genres are politicians or people who engage in politics?

On the other hand, “Young adults are also the biggest consumers of comedy talk shows and satirical news” (Pew Center, 2008). This could be the reason that satire, as a soft news, to a certain point does not stress or have the prerequisite for having a basic knowledge about a particular event. For example, by watching any kind of TV program, even football or a documentary, the audience should have a basic knowledge or interest about the content of that media. However, comedy show viewers are less stressed about the content and are more mentally prepared for something funny.  Therefore, this may lead people isolate themselves or to imitate an understanding of the joke when the joke is not clear and others are laughing. Satire pressures the audience to get the meaning of the context. “This type of negativity may allow people to learn or become interested in politics, since negative messages can be more salient and comparisons can provide useful information (Baym, 2008).” In such a case, soft news motivates the audience to get the core meaning of the message, while hard news brings awareness for skepticism.  This is the main factor why young people like to watch late-night TV comedies.

All in all satire and comedy is playing a role of alternative media during the election campaign. Satire as an alternative media changes the communication channel and brings educational content itself, while comedy is mostly entertainment. I think it is crucial to deeply analyze the info-enter-propa-gainment in order to predict the future development or transformation of satire and comedy in the communication field.

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