News has long presented us with dichotomies of objectivity and selective information gathering. In assembling a story, journalists generate their own cultural constructions, drawing on “narrative conventions and routine practices” (Bird, 2010), however the majority of news programmes are perceived as having an impartial stance on the issues they present to the public. While still operating within the cycle of news production, dissemination, and reception, satirical news programs subvert flaws in exisiting news narratives to perpetrate their own view on the subject matter. However, the difference lies in the comedians’ willingness to acknowledge that their material is based upon their own ideology (Stewart, 2004). In either case, both programme styles seek to engender a degree of trust with their respective audiences through the performance of fact.
While the majority of news programs purport to having an impartial view in their narrative constructions, satire plays an important role in advocating for accurate reporting and acknowledgement of bias. By referencing exisiting and familiar news formats, parodical and satirical news programs encourage their audience’s abilities to critique mainstream news media, and have “the advantage of being able to bring about or at least allude to concrete realities, whilst at the same time being able to leave it to the readers or viewers whether or not they wish to draw any conclusions for themselves” (Luhmann, 1995).
This installation serves as a lens through which to unveil the interconnected ideological and political networks that serve to define the way we view reality. Parodical news shows subvert traditional news broadcasting formats, using them as blueprints to highlight the fallacies and falsities of media reporting, as well as exposing wider social issues and flaws in political systems. Viewers are invited to sit in the seats and reflect upon their own role as audience to these networks of power, and the amount of trust they may place in the performance of fact. This self-reflexive process is enabled through the construction of a ‘Daily Show’-style discussion between Jon Stewart and Bill O’Reilly, highlighting the way that different ideologies intersect and build off one another in a performative act.
Luhmann, N. (1995). The Reality of the Mass Media [Ebook]. Cambridge: Polity Press. Retrieved from https://monoskop.org/images/6/6c/Luhmann_Niklas_The_Reality_of_the_Mass_Media.pdf
Bird, E. (2010). The Anthropology of News & Journalism: Global Perspectives. Indiana University Press.