Performance Artists vs Reporters: What is truth?

Recently two well-known political pundits have faced scrutiny. Alex Jones of the conspiracy site Infowars
and Bill O'Reilly from Fox News. Both are political pundits, which are different than reporters/journalists. As such, they do not always follow actual journalism ethics. 

While Bill O'Reilly is losing his job at Fox due partially to the sexual harassment scandals and financial reasons, Jones in the middle of a messy divorce had his lawyer state that he just a "performance artist", or more easily understood as an actor with an artistic purpose. Yet his site "infowars" is mistaken as fact by readers.

This is not a new concept. Stephen Colbert played a "Character" when working on Comedy Central. The character, also named "Stephen Colbert", was a caricatures of more conservative pundits. Now at the Late Show, he is himself, but actually had to fight Viacom (who owns Comedy Central) over the rights to be himself, and to even resurrect the Stephen Colbert character (which he has by insisting the new "Stephen Colbert" is a cousin not the actual Stephen Colbert"). Even the Daily Show and the Onion are often confused for actual news.

With all of this "acting" in the news arena, why do you think Americans are more likely to believe actors over journalists? Do you think that "news" shows should indicate if they are entertainment or actual fact? Why or why not?


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