I had to chew on this one and run through it and over it a few times to even decide how I feel about it. It was a thought provoking read either way. I respect you and so wanted my response to reflect that, so here goes:
I disagree. wholeheartedly.
I feel personally that in this day and age of political extremes that satire is necessary. Indispensable even. Everyone is different and responds to possible delivery methods as such in regards to their news stories. I want mine with a laugh. I want to laugh at the inherent and meaningless ridiculousness we perpetuate through politics. If I couldn’t laugh, I would scream.
I respect each of the men you mentioned to varying degrees for the work they do. None of them is gospel or infallible but only a fool would worship any media personality as such. I have personally never, even in a mirror, meant a person I have always agreed with. Guys like Maher and Oliver add spin to a situation or story. It is always on a viewer to fact check their news, no matter where they get it. I don’t view their shows as any different in that regard. No one should rely on them solely for their news, and I would bet even they would agree with me on that.
I’m not going to tell you to lighten up. Your world view is a serious as you are comfortable with and on a selfish note, has provided me with some great perspective on this very website to read. I want to keep those other guys around too, mistakes and all. Even if they misinform those unwilling to dive deeper. Perhaps that’s also a selfish sentiment? I’ll own that. Perhaps it’s disrespectful to desire levity in even the most serious of topics? I’ll own that too.
They do however get some good work done. People like them have raised awareness of issues that may have otherwise been overlooked for generations of young people. If they can get anyone thinking or laughing more, I’d say they’re worth it overall. At the very least, they spurred you to write this article I enjoyed.
Take care, friend.