Rejected Colbert bid protects satire

ReAnne Utemark

There is something to be said for real stuff. Foods, for example, like maple syrup or butter. They are usually better because they have fewer preservatives and chemicals, despite not always tasting the same. The same goes for news and politics. The real stuff is just better for everyone.

Jon Stewart did not lead a revolution when he took over “The Daily Show.” He just made it funnier, despite his apparent inability to keep a straight face. Johnny Carson, Jay Leno and David Letterman had been making fun of politicians and celebrities during the late night block for years on network television. “The Daily Show” took it to cable and started calling it “news.” Stephen Colbert followed in the footsteps of Stewart and took it further when he created a pompous windbag show modeled after Bill O’Reilly and called it “The Colbert Report.”

It’s fake news.

Despite “The Daily Show” Web site touting it as “the nightly half-hour series unburdened by objectivity, journalistic integrity or even accuracy,” it has won both Peabody and Emmy awards. The Peabody is an award for electronic media, which is administered by the journalism school at the University of Georgia.

It’s fake news.

“The Colbert Report” was up for an Emmy, at least, and has fervent fans whose home base is the Colbert Nation Web site. Colbert has an eagle and a Ben and Jerry’s ice cream flavor named after him. The mayor of Columbia, S.C., recently declared “Stephen Colbert Day,” and was not the first to do it.

It’s fake news.

Colbert is promoting his new book, “I am America and So Can You.” He was also recently rejected by South Carolina democrats to get on the ticket for the 2008 presidential election. On Oct. 25, 2008, before Colbert was rejected, Editor & Publisher declared, “If he keeps gaining over 10% [sic] a week, Colbert should be leading the field before November is out.”

Fake news read by a fake anchor, in a fake bid for presidency. Something about this just screams terrible idea. Indeed, there was a mediocre movie made about this notion. Despite Robin Williams’ comedic stylings and a perceivably funny plot line, it still did not work. South Carolina’s rejection of Colbert was a good thing. It illustrated that there is still some sanctity left in the democratic process. Colbert’s bid was a joke, and the race for president should maintain some reverence.

Satire is one of the most important aspects of democratic discourse. By illuminating the ridiculous and, subsequently, humorous aspects of politicians and their politics, it urges Americans to think critically about them. Satire should be alive and well, but it should not merge with politics or celebrity. Satirists and journalists should be in a separate sphere, apart from politicians. Stewart and Colbert are a main source of information for the younger voters. Fake news has its place, and it is an important one, but real news should still be the source of information. Besides, Stewart and Colbert are much funnier if the viewer already knows something about history and current events, anyway.

Long live Stewart, Colbert and all the comedians that came before and will come after them. They should not let politicians or Americans take themselves too seriously but should stay out of politics and allow Americans to uphold their duties as citizens and voters.