WASHINGTON, March 11, 2014 – Is it funny or sad as hell? Zach Galifianakis is a very funny comedic actor. He spoofs the media with his paradoy “Between Two Ferns” interview. His guest this week? None other than President Barack Obama. A seven minute interview with the President. Something most journalists would covet.
That seven minutes are spent in a ‘humerous’ attempt to promote Affordable Health Care. Galifianakis takes on the role of the “low information” talk show host, and he and the President are very, very funny. Absolutely no doubt. It is funny.
The discussion as to whether we want our President, the most powerful man in the world, taking on the role of Saturday Night Live satarist, however, is open for discussion.
What is sad is that the “Between Two Ferns” spoof is aimed at this newly identified group of Americans – the Low Information Voter. And it is not the Obama administration’s first attempt to reach youth voters with humor instead of information. Jimmy Fallon’s “Slow Jam the News” has featured numerous politicians and media personalities that we would not normally expect to see having so much fun.
Once known as the “silent majority,” now as the nation’s “low-information voters,” these citizens perform their civic duty on election day. But they have no real clue for whom or what they are voting.”
The silent majority was once a group of voters that every politician hoped would one day wake up and become involved. Take part in the political process. Become informed.
Today that “majority” is more often than not influenced not by hard news or facts but by 30 second ads and sound bites that are, by definition, filled with little or no substance or actionable information (Wikipedia):
“In the context of journalism, a sound bite is characterized by a short phrase or sentence that captures the essence of what the speaker was trying to say, and is used to summarize information and entice the reader or viewer. The term was coined by the U.S. media in the 1970s. Since then, politicians have increasingly employed sound bites to summarize their positions.”
And media loves to push the sound byte that promotes their ideology.
A previous insult to the thinking voter were the late 2013 Progress Colorado Obamacare Ads that promoted risky behavior, from sexual promiscuity to alcohol abuse.
Fox31 Denver described those ads as such:
“Got Insurance?”, the campaign from Progress Now and the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative that’s modeled after the iconic “Got Milk?” ad campaign of yesteryear, targets the “young invincibles”, those in their 20s and 30s who tend to forgo insurance because they’re relatively healthy — and often relatively poor.
Their participation in the country’s expanding health insurance marketplace is considered critical to growing the pool of the insured and, as a result, driving down health costs.
The ads themselves, which will show up on social media sites, are targeted toward “everyday people” — who tend to represent the stereotypical Colorado millennial.”
Those same millennial “voters” that our First Lady Michele Obama referred to as “knuckleheads” on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.
And those knuckleheads are obviously responding to the message. And it is up to the not so silent, informed voter to decide if we want our politics, and politicians defined by pop culture satire.
However, humor is fun. The Slow Jams and Between the Ferns is fun. But can we have this much “fun” if it means not doing our homework? I wonder if Fallon can get Putin to Slow Jam with him? Maybe via Skype.
(Note: Mitt Romney was not in office when he slow jammed the news)
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