“Everything not so bad, after 10 year-old bravely throws self into gears of Perpetual Terror Machine, slowing it down for 2 seconds.”

– The “Good News”

It seems like no matter how the news gets presented, nobody is ever satisfied. Everyone gets up in arms over how editorialized and opinionated news can be these days, but you offer them the dry, informative presentation of the AP or Reuters and they just don’t pay attention. So of course more successful outlets will spice things up with commentary, personalities, or some other form of entertainment and that just makes things ripe for explicit biases and straight up propaganda.

As for my issues with the latter two options presented here – I often hear people lamenting the loss of The Daily Show under Jon Stewart’s run, suggesting its absence is a major reason for our current political situation. And I just don’t see it. Like what, was Jon Stewart supposed to make fun of Donald Trump so hard that he would lose the 2016 election? Or resign in disgrace? No, Jon Stewart would have just been seen as another “liberal shill with Trump Derangement Syndrome who can’t come up with another joke!”

I look back on Jon Stewart’s years and its impact on politics at the time and I really don’t know what kind of long-lasting legacy he’s left behind. People cite how he “destroyed” Tucker Carlson on Crossfire, but Tucker Carlson’s still around and more powerful than ever! George W. Bush won two terms during Stewart’s run and I have my doubts about how much Obama’s rise in the aftermath could be attributed to The Daily Show‘s influence, as opposed to Obama’s once-in-a-generation charismatic talent.

What I actually saw from the Daily Show generation was the rise of political apathy and cynicism – the popularization of the idea, “Republicans may be evil, but the Democrats are useless!” that really just results in progressive idleness while the conservatives continue their mobilization. Which is why, I believe, in recent years we’ve seen the rise of “The Manic Activist” form of entertainment news. This is what I’d categorize the likes of Last Week Tonight, Some More News, and Crooked Media under – all of which have their distinctions from each other, but generally carry the theme of, “There’s a bunch of terrible shit happening, but you have the power to change it!”

Honestly, in recent years, I’ve shifted more towards the sentiments of the Manic Activist – in terms of actually getting people to be politically active and engaged, it does seem to be more effective in that way. But I would also consider the likes of Tucker Carlson, Ben Shapiro, and Alex Jones to be “Manic Activists,” and I would absolutely not recommend those guys as trusted news sources.

So I don’t really know what I think “the best way” to cover news is – I just don’t think most people want to know about the news at all. Ideally, everyone would find the bland, informative AP style to be extremely engaging, but they don’t. And of course, if they’re going to consume entertaining, but biased, news media, I would prefer they be biased in my direction. But I just don’t believe that’s how news should be presented. Sometimes things can’t be how they should and they just are.

– James