Mon. Oct 14th, 2019

The Blue & Gray Press

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Staff Editorial: Rally Demonstrates Worrying Trends

2 min read

This past weekend, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert held the much anticipated “Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear” on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

The rally drew over 215,000 people according to CBS News. The Comedy Central duo host two of the most popular late night shows on cable TV, “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report.” While these shows can be informative and newsish, they are really not appropriate sources for reliable and non-partisan reporting.

For many college and high school students, the news is boring. Politics, crime and administrative policy fail to hold attention like “The Simpsons,” “Two and a Half Men” (really?), “NCIS” and other primetime shows. Instead, a large percentage of our age group chooses to get their news watered down and hawked by comedians, educated though they are.

According to it’s website, “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” is “unburdened by objectivity, journalistic integrity or even accuracy.” Clearly, the show does not even claim to be along the same lines as primetime news shows with Katie Couric, Brian Williams and the like. What these shows understand is that they are primarily entertainment and comedy shows, based on news and current events.

Stewart and Colbert are not news anchors and they’re shows are not news shows. Of course, they are hilarious, well-written and are usually based on relevant topics. The rally this weekend was essentially the same thing.

The rally was three hours long, with only about 20 minutes of actual political content. The other two hours and forty minutes was filled with jokes, costumes, guest stars and singers. It was funny, but it wasn’t that substantive.

In this month’s election, 11 percent of the 18-29 age group voted. That statistic itself accurately describes the problem. Instead of 215,000 people putting their energy into traveling to D.C. to stand in a crowd at a rally that has very little influence, shouldn’t young adults be rallying around actual issues and problems with our country? Instead of rallying just to rally, as we saw this weekend, a rally for an actual cause should be able to draw that many people to the mall, not just the promise of celebrity guest stars.

We like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. Their shows are funny and entertaining. The rally was fun, but it didn’t raise any real issues or have any lasting political influence.

Next time you want to take part in something political, make sure it’s more than just a gimmick. With the same format, so much more could be accomplished.

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