How 9/11 Changed What Americans Laugh At
Satire and slant further entrenched many Americans where they already stood, splitting television into warring (if also smirking) echo chambers and likely contributing to the well-documented political polarization of the past 20 years. Any sense of unity via collective, cathartic laughter was short-lived; recall that Bush took less than a month to declare, “You’re either with us or against us,” and most people picked a side. Though his comment referred to the War on Terror, it encapsulated all manner of turn-of-the-millennium cultural squabbles. With the line between news and entertainment blurred, a rogue’s gallery of reporter-personality hybrids emerged on the major networks to preach to their respective choirs.