Anyone who doesn’t believe that satirical news reporting is a mainstream form of culture jamming must be blind. Satirical news reporting has become the video form of ‘traditional’ culture jamming, where artists re-draw advertisements to send alternative messages on the streets. Even Rick Mercer attempts to fit the mould of culture jammers by ranting in alleys of graffiti filled bricks. It’s not quite guerilla, but close enough in my opinion.
The difference between the Rick Mercer Report (and similar stations) to a fellow artist with the same objectives is the amount of people they reach. Rick Mercer is broadcasted across North America, and is easily accessible on a global scale. His show is aired on trusted stations such as CBC, and Mercer keeps public interest by his wittiness and versatility. “Comedy can be subversive as it attracts attention in memorable ways and allows jesters to challenge authority”pg.223. Rick Mercer does exactly that. He is looked up to as a respected public figure, and is constantly poking fun at politics while raising serious questions about political issues. People tune in each week to watch his culture jammed show, which quickly spreads to the masses.
Satirical news media is important to the public sphere because it breaks down politics and world issues to simpler terms, instead of getting the usual government run around. It is important to have such media because “consumers control the interpretation of the message, but they don’t have the access to the means of constructing their own media products and sending responses straight back to its producers” pg. 217. To address this idea, satirical news reporters help the masses interpret the messages the media and government send us, and help those who are less knowledgeable about the government system become educated in an innovative way. The second part of the statement claims that we cannot respond to media producers, however I believe that satirical news reporters are our voices collectively, whom respond to producers on our behalf.
From personal experience, I can attest that I have learned more about politics and the justice system through the Rick Mercer Report than I ever did in the classroom. Shows like these have gained my interest and expanded my knowledge in politics and government, which makes me more aware of what is happening in the public sphere around me and affects how I think and act within it.
So yes, ‘fake’ satirical news is the ‘real’ news. Shows like the Rick Mercer Report do talk about real government issues in their own culture jammed way. Satirical news reporters are not only useful to the public sphere, but they heavily affect the masses and their views within the sphere. Satirical news reporters are very useful to the masses, however I can assume that people in positions of power dislike Rick Mercer. After all, he does post photos of them on his website and allow the public to photo shop them into embarrassing situations!
O’Shaughnessy, M., & Stalder, J. (2012). Media and society: Fifth edition. South Melbourne, Australia: Oxford University Press