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Satirical Truth

November 26, 2008

       Weekend Update is a “Saturday Night Live” sketch which comments and parodies current events.  Those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of watching “Saturday Night Live” over the years have missed out on the wittiness this satire sketch offers. 

     Satire news programs present news stories in a format similar to that of a major news network with the exception that the news is portrayed in a humorous often sarcastic way. 

     The news stories presented on Weekend Update are current stories that have happened during that week.  The set is designed to imitate news casts.  One or two of the actors on “Saturday Night Live”  play the role of news anchor, presenting spoof news stories based on current events and occasionally adding their own commentaries like that of traditional news anchors.  Weekend Update blends facts and comedy together. 

     Weekend Update is one of my favorite satire news programs.  Amy Poehler and Seth Myers are one of the funniest pairs to anchor the segment to date.  Whether they are criticizing celebrities, politicians, or current events the laughs are just not stop.  The duo informs the audience of when individuals act plain old idiotic.  If a politician acts without common sense they will be portrayed negatively and made the target of jokes. Of course to find the any of the sketches funny on Weekend Update, as well as any other satire show, it requires some prior knowledge of an event in order to appreciate the full humor of the joke

     I think people may underestimate the impact of shows like “Saturday Night Live” Weekend Update.  Satire news programs tend to be close in ratings with serious news programs and may be the only TV source where people get their news from.  Because news satire relies on irony and serious humor, it is occasionally mistaken for real news.

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Odd Anchor Out

September 24, 2008

     Katie Couric is the odd anchor out.  As the co-anchor of the “Today” show, Couric was highly praised and valued for her work.  This changed once she left her co-anchoring role for the sole anchoring position at CBS Evening News.

      The very attitude that won her such acceptance among the viewers was now being attacked.  Former CBS anchor, Dan Rather, went as far as saying CBS has been “dumbing it down, tarting it up.”    The idea that a woman cannot be the anchor of a serious news program without being called a tart is sexist. Tart in this case has the implication of a hussy.  And seriously Mr. Rather, the word tart isn’t exactly a reference used in modern society.  What a way to show just how old and out of touch with today’s world you really are.  Of course, Rather had to issue a retraction saying Katie Couric was not a tart but a respected journalist.

     In a phone interview with New York Times Journalist David Carr,  Couric was quoted as saying, “It’s clear that in the beginning it was hard for viewers to accept a woman in the anchor role and at the same time, we tried to re-imagine the news cast, which was probably too much at the same time.”  In today’s historic time, with Governor Sarah Palin runngin for vice president, and Hillary Clinton coming close to being the first female president, having a woman as the anchor of a well respected news program is a positive asset.  But for some reason all these recent gender barrier breakthroughs still does not give Couric credit to be taken seriously on her own without a male co-anchor by her side.

     In the article “An Anchor Lets Down Her Hair”, David Carr says, “It is telling that when the McCain campaign was looking for a soft place to land Governor Palin’s first interview, they turned to Charles Gibson at ABC, not Ms. Couric.” I would have liked to have seen Katie Couric interview Governor Palin, not just for the sake of a woman interviewing another woman, but to show the change of the times and illustrate the journalistic ability Couric has.  A female achor landing the first interview with the first ever female vice president candidate would have been a major breakthrough for gender equality.  A female’s perspective  is what is lacking in the news world.  Female journalists are just as compitent, hard-working, and highly qualified as their male counterpart.  We need gender issues to fade away or there will never be gender equality in the world of media.  And as for Katie Couric, thank you for paving the way for future female journalists like myself, who want to be taken seriously and not be called a tart.