With the increasing use of mass media in news delivery in recent years, journalism has found its way onto television screens and online platforms, rather than just traditional print media in the form of newspapers and magazines. Even within journalism, the rise of political satire has served to make news more accessible to the public.
Last week, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah came to the Tabernacle venue in Atlanta for live taping ahead of the Nov. 8 midterm election to wrap up coverage of Votedemic 2022. That Technology had the opportunity to participate in the Oct. 31 taping where Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams was interviewed by the Democratic Party The show’s host, Trevor Noah.
According to a press release issued by the show, “Amid rising global conflict, political polarization and activism against injustice both domestically and globally – all against the backdrop of a world recovering from the effects of COVID-19 – ‘The Daily Show with Trevor Noah ‘ continues to elevate marginalized voices and update viewers on the current events that are shaping the world as we know it.”
That Technology had the opportunity to interview Roy Wood Jr., one of the show’s main correspondents, about the upcoming midterm elections and the role of political satire in today’s social climate. Wood officially began doing comedy in 1998 as a student at Florida A&M University. Since then he has appeared on late night talk shows such as Late Night with Seth Meyers, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and Conan. He has been a full-time correspondent for The Daily Show with Trevor Noah since 2015.
When asked if he thinks there’s both thought and identity diversity on voters’ ballots this election cycle, Wood said, “I can’t give a blanket answer because I think representation is a very perspective-based metric which we measure politics. There are indigenous people, members of the LGBTQ+ community, black people and many young people are on the ballot. I think that’s a lot of an understatement, because I think if there’s one demographic that’s been particularly politically active since Trump took office, I’d say it’s politicians under 30. These people are changing the narrative of what’s possible in Washington, but also what could happen on the ground.”
Wood continued: “I think what’s important, aside from representation in actual politicians in office, is that there has been a diversification of legislation to help specific groups. And we know this is true because there is also a plethora of new laws being created to stop them laws happen.”
“So if you look at an abortion ban bill, it’s the result of people trying to counter the work that women have done for decades to make women’s rights accessible. Similarly, Florida’s anti-gay policy is an indirect response to advances made by the LGBTQ+ community in relation to the last four to six years.”
Georgia is just one of the battleground states this November. States like Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Arizona are all key players in deciding a Republican-Democrat majority United States Congress.
Referring to the show’s live tapings in Atlanta for halftime coverage, Wood said, “The modus operandi of ‘The Daily Show’ has always been to go into a battlefield where the decisions that are made could have national ramifications. The inauguration of Herschel Walker over Raphael Warnock could very easily be something that could change the way laws are passed nationally. I don’t think there is a single issue affecting Georgia voters that doesn’t affect someone else, somewhere else, and I think that’s exactly why Georgia is the perfect place to go.”
Wood’s remarks also touched on issues such as voter disenfranchisement and lack of effectiveness, particularly for first-time voters.
“My advice to young voters out there is to stay strong and keep fighting to make your voice heard,” Wood said. “Every ridiculous law on the books contradicts the actions of this country’s youth over the last five to ten years. So keep fighting and questioning; that would be my message.”
Wood addressed the relevance of using political satire in media outlets like The Daily Show, despite the plight of an increasingly polarizing political climate.
“I think political satire plays a key role in informing voters and creating a structure of accountability for politicians. I think we are going through an interesting phase in which many politicians are impertinent. And I think that doesn’t make political satire as effective as it used to be. I think there has to be a change in the way you approach what’s happening in the country with a comedic twist,” Wood said.
Wood continued: “It’s almost as if political satire is a vaccine and the politicians we want to embarrass have mutated and adapted. So we have to go back and revise the vaccine and we need a booster shot. We need to find out what the political satire booster of our approach is Accountability in Politics”.
Atlanta-taped coverage of “Votedemic 2022” can be viewed each night at 11:00 p.m. ET/PT on Comedy Central, and the full show will be available for viewers to stream Paramount+ the next day.