‘Patriot Act’: The Awakening of Millennial Political Talk Shows

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Published December 12, 2018
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The Montclarion
Hasan Minhaj's new show, "Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj" is on Netflix. Photo courtesy of Onset Productions

As college students in this new political era, we are being influenced by all the different types of media about politics. Some of those influences could be on popular streaming platforms, such as Netflix, or on your basic cable networks. Other influences could be found on podcasts or even radio shows. In the aftermath of the 2016 election, political media is more important than ever.

Since the premiere of Hasan Minhaj’s “Patriot Act” on Netflix, there have been memes circulating all over Twitter. With these memes, the show is grasping on to their audience, which is millennials. Students from Montclair State University expressed how shows like Minhaj’s can be beneficial to college students.

“College students nowadays, they rely on making everything comedic and also breaking it down in a way that is so visual,” said sophomore communication and media arts major Emely Alba. “[Minhaj] has this giant screen and then on that screen is just a bunch of videos of him breaking down every situation and every episode and what it means.”

Alba did not know much about politics before Minhaj’s show and did not care much for it. After watching Minhaj’s show, she realized she really did not know how important politics are in today’s world.

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Sophomore communication & media arts major Emely Alba looks at her phone as she directs to Netflix while posing for a photo. Sunah Choudhry | The Montclarion

Alba also likes the way Minhaj broke down the political information because it was easy for her to understand.

“We don’t want to read,” Alba said. “We don’t want to skim through that article in The New York Times. We just want to watch someone tell us about everything, about what’s going on in the world.”

Also a fan of the “Patriot Act,” AJ Nichols, a sophomore film major, expressed his disinterest in the news that led him to watch Minhaj’s show. He believes the news can be contradictory and biased but when he found “Patriot Act,” he was shocked.

“I was like, ‘Wow, this guy is actually funny,’ and he’s bringing a whole new political twist on what it means to be in politics and to understand politics and made it really simple and concise,'” Nichols said. “The topics are very important and very relatable to today’s youth and college-level students.”

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Sophomore film major AJ Nichols looks at his phone as he poses for a photo. Sunah Choudhry | The Montclarion

He even went on to describe how seeing someone young and energetic made him more interested in watching the show.

“Then you have this guy who’s like, ‘Yo, what up!’ It’s like, ‘Okay, this guy is interesting,’” Nichols said.

The show has even created their own internet challenges that have brought fans together.

While some students may float toward “Patriot Act,” there are other students that watch or listen to shows like “Louder With Crowder,” “Joe Rogan Experience” and “The Ben Shapiro Show.”

Nicholas Cherrey, a sophomore television and digital media major, had become more interested in politics near the 2016 election and decided to stay away from mainstream news.

“I don’t want to be the guy that says CNN is fake news, but I do think there is an aspect to big media corporations having a very strong bias and putting out things they want to put out,” Cherrey said. “I think Fox and CNN do it, and they come from manufactured news.”

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Sophomore television and digital media major Nick Cherrey poses for a photo as he looks at his phone. Chanila German | The Montclarion

Cherrey also likes that when you tune into political talk shows, you can easily grasp what they are talking about. When he tunes in to a news source, he finds that one is thrown into watching a debate that lasts a quick five minutes.

AJ Melillo, “Sons of Liberty” co-host and The Montclarion assistant opinion editor, believes listening to podcasts and shows, such as “The Ben Shapiro Show” and “The Michael Knowles Show,” is also beneficial for college students.

“They do a good job at connecting and making it easier to understand for somebody that doesn’t know politics,” Melillo said.

As Melillo has his own political talk show that he co-hosts with fellow student and The Montclarion contributing writer Stephen Rumbolo, at WMSC 90.3FM, he has had students come up to him saying that the show has helped them better understand politics.

“The whole goal of the show is to make politics easier for college students to understand and it’s also a learning experience,” Melillo said. “[Rumbolo and I] are learning just as much as everybody else is through the process of the show.”

As Montclair State students tend to watch different types of political talk shows, they all still learn more about politics with the millennial voice being shouted loud and clear. This makes one start to believe that this is the rise of the young generation in politics.

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