My evaluation of Jon Stewart’s “fake” news can hardly be unbiased. I think he’s brilliant. I discovered him when I moved to college and first had access to cable. My friend Jennifer Fitch got me hooked and by April 3, 2004, I was in the third row of the Benedum Center looking up as he did his stand-up shtick. He’s short. He’s also much more vulgar without the TV censors.
So, I’m saying it hardly felt like course work to be “forced” to watch two episodes of The Daily Show. I watched episodes from Monday and Tuesday online today because once again I am living without cable. Then, I headed over to Google News and browsed the information board that definitely was not static.
I didn’t stop to read the full text of a story until I got to “The Artistic License of Social Network” from the Guardian. I’m interested in seeing this movie sometime. As in, I haven’t seen it yet. So, truthfully, the story was just lots of literary references that never told me if I should see the movie. However, the word “anti-bildungsroman” baffled me. I opened a new tab and searched out the definition. Apparently, this I should know this word. I certainly have read enough coming-of-age stories.
Back to the fluid information board I went. The next story was a brief on Brett Farve that also told me nothing. The final story allowed in my time slot was a story in Huffington Post about Glenn Beck sending out Mormon battle cries. Weird. So weird that I had to open another tab and do research on the Mormon wiki about the White Horse Prophecy and on the author of the column. It’s apparently all legit.
So, oddly, my results don’t mimic the results of Xenos and Becker because I didn’t seek out political information or further my knowledge of the topics Stewart talked about in those episodes. However, I would agree that it was impossible for me to watch the two episodes and learn nothing. I did learn that Rich Sanchez had been fired from CNN and I would probably be able to recognize the face of Rahm Emanuel’s replacement. I was primed so that the next time I see a reference to it in the news, I’ll have more background information.
While this wasn’t classic gateway theory, I also participated in something I’ll call Duncan-gateway. When I read something that has political or historical context, the Internet makes it so much easier to delve into the deep-down crevices of that subject. When I was weirded out by the Beck story, that was a gateway for me to learn more about Mormon prophecies and about the employment history of the author. It gave me knowledge that I needed to better decide what weight to give what I was reading.