I am an avid fan of all three series. I'm in love with Stephen Colbert, though I find his brand of satire to be overwhelming and I watch his show less than the others. I adore Jon Stewart and think we would be friends in real life. And though I'm not the biggest fan of John Oliver as a host, I think the format of his show is wildly innovative and provides some of the best commentary on TV today.
Watching their shows certainly leaves me feeling informed. I laugh a lot, I learn a little, and I feel engaged. However, I also end each show feeling a bit apathetic, with a side of cynicism.
Satire is inherently negative. It is founded on calling people out for their stupidity. No one is safe. While satire is a satisfying style of comedy, when it's applied to politics, it can leave you empty, with no one left to believe in. While I don't think anyone, no matter race, creed, or party affiliation, should be exempt from criticism, or from being the butt of a joke, it is hard to have faith in our political process, or even in our fellow man, when the only one left looking good at the end of a 30 minute segment are the Jo(h)ns themselves.
My generation has turned to these alternatives "news" shows for several reasons, but the primary one is our belief that traditional media is full of lies, propaganda on a fated Orwellian scale. While I don't disagree, I do think that more traditional forms of news at least offer you uplift, even if that soaring feeling is founded on faulty ideologies. Though I'll never be able to accept it or watch it without a heap of irony, I wish I could accept a good guy-bad guy view of the world, for it would be simpler, and I would still have a hint of hope that the good guy could bring about society's salvation.
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