In today’s world, social media is everywhere and it has become the primary source of information on just about any topic. This is also true for politics as this year’s Federal election has sparked lots of notoriety in social media. From YouTube campaign videos to election focused hashtags, the Internet has become the one stop shop for Canadian political information. A notable example of this is the YouTube channel, Truth Mashup.
Truth Mashup is a channel devoted to discussing Canadian political news in a comedic way that avoids supporting a particular political party. It launched while YouTube was still young in 2006 and has only grown in popularity since.
Truth Mashup is part of a YouTube network called The Young Turks network. The TYT network is also devoted to sharing politics in a comedic and mostly unbiased light. The network is comprised of over 30 channels of various platforms and subjects.
“[The Young Turks] have a multichannel network, like how T.V. channels have affiliates, and we are the Canadian Channel,” said Dan Speerin, the host of Truth Mashup. “The Young Turks network is the largest news and politics network on YouTube. Their purpose since they started out in the United States was to provide a progressive alternative to mainstream media. During the Iraq war, when they were doing Sirius radio before YouTube, there wasn’t a real angle in the United States that wasn’t supporting corporate interests, but they also wanted it to be entertaining. Their goal was to blend the two but not pick a team. You could argue they lean to the Democrats, but they have also been heavily critical of Obama unlike other news networks who obviously take sides.”
The Canadian political comedy channel rose on its own after the events of the G20 Summit in Toronto.
“When we were doing our podcast in Canada, it came out of a similar vein as [The Young Turks], which was just after the G20 here in Toronto,” said Speerin. “We were doing a T.V. series about Millennial issues but when that G20 happened we wanted to broaden our show so we started Truth Mashup because we felt we would see and hear of different things happening at events like the G20 on the internet than we would hear about from the news on T.V. or from our parents. It was like these two different news sources where if you watched things on Twitter or YouTube you were getting one side and watching T.V. you got the other side. We wanted to try to balance those things while also using comedy.”
Truth Mashups’ most recent YouTube series is a mockumentary about Prime Minister, Stephen Harper. The show is called Harper History and it provides a mock history of Harper’s early life and his rise to the leader of the Conservative Party. The title of the show is a reference to events that took place in the House of Commons in 2012.
“#HarperHistory started when there was an argument in the House of Commons in which Harper stated that the NDP hadn’t supported going to war ever and said that the NDP were against going to World War Two,” said Speerin. “Of course, the NDP didn’t exist until the 60s so Harper was being technical. We thought it was funny so when I was on Twitter I hashtagged out a bunch of jokes like ‘The NDP didn’t side with us in the Cold War’ and ‘The NDP didn’t side with Genghis Khan’ and I hashtagged #HarperHistory with it. It took off and it ended up being brought to the floor of the House of Commons. So when we decided to make a mockumentary on Stephen Harper we thought it would be a funny title to round out the last five years of Stephen Harper.”
This ability makes their channel so appealing to those who want to learn about current issues without having to sift through hours of dry documentaries and biased T.V. news broadcasts.
“Our first goal is to be funny,” said Speerin. “Canada traditionally ignores [students]. However, I think we are finally starting to see that change. I think that there’s going to be a new, more entertaining approach to media which has been lacking in Canada for a long time. There’s going to be a lot more content aimed at much younger people. It won’t just be people your grandparents watch, it will be people your own age saying what’s going on. There’s a new mentality. We don’t trust our media as much as we used to and there’s a reason for that.”
To see videos from Truth Mashup or learn more about them check out their YouTube channel at youtube.com/user/cynicallytested/featured or at their website truthmashup.com