Culture, Politics

Is the Daily Show hurting America?

Richard Morin in WaPo:

This is not funny: Jon Stewart and his hit Comedy Central cable show may be poisoning democracy.
Two political scientists found that young people who watch Stewart’s faux news program, “The Daily Show,” develop cynical views about politics and politicians that could lead them to just say no to voting.
That’s particularly dismaying news because the show is hugely popular among college students, many of whom already don’t bother to cast ballots.

Funny… I tend to think our “representatives” actions lead to more cynicism than Jon Stewart’s impression of Bush’s cackle ever could. In fact, I believe The Daily Show is the last bastion of honesty in newsmedia, and its ability to make us laugh does no more than make our reality hurt a little less. It’s not the Daily Show which makes us cynical, but rather our state of affairs. This is naught but a textbook example of shooting the messenger.
You can download the full report here.

21 thoughts on “Is the Daily Show hurting America?

  1. OK, so this is totally retarded. Every person I know who’s a fan of the Daily Show and the Colbert Report is someone who tries their best to make a difference and is more outraged than anyone that the inmates are currently running the asylum. They’re all proud voters AND for the right(er) side.

  2. well said Mobius, thanks for putting this up.
    Ir certainly is the state of affairs and not those that “cover” it 🙂

  3. It’s always the state of affairs that suck. We’re talking politics here people. The daily show just manages to make people more cynical about it than usual.

  4. it was interesting. a few nights ago, i was watching the show, and i thought to myself, (since i am aware of these things as editor of a Holocaust survivors newspaper) which Jews would they go after first. Who would I consider the most powerful Jew in America? And the answer was Jon Stewart because he tells it exactly like it is, and i wondered what shape that attack would take…considering how they just discount human rights til they no longer exist…
    and then two mornings later, a friend who is a neo-con gleefully sent me the link.
    and i realized, “it’s not a fantasy, these mf’ers are really gonna try to start another war against the jews…sheeeeeyut.”
    rip these bastards. remember they said they MIGHT not vote. Jon, do your own voter registration campaign, and go get em.

  5. A person should always vote…for the lesser of two evils. I am so sick of the horribly myopic whores of politicians who continue to infest Washington. I guess it’s natural that politicians have to sell out in order to get votes and get things accomplished. That’s an upsetting thing to realize. Only an optimist would think that things work out otherwise.
    I think Jon Stewart is doing fine. I don’t agree with him 100%, but he’s a mensch.

  6. How come Jon Stewart has never leveled one criticism of Israel? You know that non-Jews sort of glance over at each other (politely if Jews are in the room) when he talks about Hammas — like they’re not just upset with the fact that their land was stolen from them. (Seriously, it is quite comical to see white Russian men acting so passionately about their right to land in the middle east. Why not make a little fun of a sight like that — or the poor white girl whining about being forced of their land in the Gaza strip; that’s funny, right? Better yet, when they threw rocks and resisted — isn’t there a good punch line in there somewhere. Anyway, is the show bad for you? Yes it is. Jon Stewart is an uninformed ass.

  7. There was an hilarious editorial along these lines in the Boston Globe sevearl months back–tried to find it on line, but couldn’t. It had a similar argument–that the Daily Show made idealistic young people less likely to go into politics. The funniest part about that one was that the author cited no evidence for his claim, but instead based it around a fictional character which he made up. So basically, it went something to the effect of, “Imagine a young college student named Joe. Joe was idealistic and thought about going into politics to do good. But then, Joe watched the Daily Show, and it made him cynical, and so he didn’t go into politics. Because the Daily show disillusioned this fictional character, the Daily Show is bad.”
    To be sure, if I wer Jon Stewart, I would probably talk more about the activism going on to fight some of the wankers who hold power. But my critique doesn’t mean that he’s dangerous, nor that I don’t enjoy the guy’s comedy. And the group of lefties and ac tivists I hang out with seems to maintain a love for Stewart and a passion for social change.

  8. It’s COMEDY CENTRAL. Jon Stewart is hilarious and brilliant. He’s not even a very observant Jew, according to himself. His wit is not irresponsible, if you watch the interview portion of his show, you know he has his facts and isn’t just spewing liberal crap to entertain the 20 and 30 somethings. He gets down people’s throats when he has to by using sarcasm and intelligence. I think he’s wonderful and I would totally stalk him if he didn’t have a wife and kid. (just kidding). I think he’s doing a great service to people who let’s face it; get tired of the media blitz which is shite in this country. He sums up issues in a nutshell and puts a funny spin on it. I know a lot of people who only watch the Daily Show for news (which I don’t condone). I heart Jon Stewart!

  9. Dang, Ruby. I think that I’m supposed to start chanting “Yankees suck” now, right? Except that I’m from the midwest and I’m a White Sox fan…
    The thing is, Bostonians are serious about this whole rivalry. while new Yorkers view Boston as a small city to the north, Bostonians think that NYC is their arch-nemesis. The disparity is pretty sad.

  10. Yankees do suck. Sure, Boston is way more disorganized, smaller, and slightly less economically significant than NY, but don’t underestimate the rivalry. Bostonians view their city as having a better quality to it than NY. That’s fine. It’s like Boston has some intrinsic quality with few gimmicks.
    It’s kind of like how someone might find Detroit more appealing than Chicago…only not. Detroit is a mess and has virtually no redeeming qualities. Forget I made that analogy.
    The truth is, Yankee fans are mostly fairweather fans. There are loyal Yankee fans out there (who suck like their team), but most Yankee fans just expect their team to win in a clockwork fashion, just like how everything works in NY.
    While the Yankees have way more titles, it’s not like the Sox have always been bad and never get close to winning (like the Cubs, no offense); it’s that the Red Sox have gotten so close so many times only to be let down due to some mishap, most notably Bill Buckner’s error in game 6 of 1986’s world series. And Bill Buckner was an excellent player.

  11. Buckner was an excellent player–close to 3000 hits in his career! But I’d hate to see him on a crowded Green Line car after a narrow Red Sox loss. He’d be vomited on at best., and probably far worse.
    That’s interesting that Yankees fans are mostly fairweather–not something one sees here much (for obvious reasons–weather hasn’t been that fair lately, with the occasional exception. And I do like Boston as a city. But still, whenever I’m in NYC and come back, I find myself marveling at our small color-coded subways, the segregated neighborhoods, and other small-city-ness. Boston is on a par with cities like San Francisco and Seattle, which is fine. But rather than accept that, it’s like a younger cousin trying to get New York’s attention, while New York is on the phone with London and Chicago.

  12. Matt- yeah, Boston is such a cute little town. Oh, the sox won one? that’s nice… call when you tie the cardinals. You’re right though, it’s odd how rivalries work. I do think there’s a genuine dislike for the Red Sox, but most other things Boston we shrug about.
    smoot- been a Yankees fan since I was watching the 81 ws in my grandma’s apt in the Bronx. through the terrible years of the late 80s early 90s. Bill Buckner was great… at flubbing grounders. The scoreboard still says 26-6.

  13. I don’t think there are any more fair weather Yankees fans than there are bandwagon jumping Jimmy Fallon watchers. Just saying.

  14. If you have to use terms like “late 80’s and early 90’s” to describe your teams “terrible years,” then they can’t have been that terrible! Us Chicago fans, we use multiple-decade stretches. It builds character! Grumble grumble grumble…

  15. Eventhough we are waaaaay off the subject here, I have to say that being a hardcore Yankee fan is usually in your blood. I don’t think twice when asked about my favorite team. I know the Yankee’s shortcomings, I know Steinbrenner their power, but they are the all American team. They’re the frickin’ Yankees! It’s the same opinion in my whole family. Yankees suck but they’re our favorite team! And please don’t bring up the ’86 series. I hate the friggin mets. Did I mention I named my dog Jeter?

  16. áñ”ã
    Thanks for this, Dan. Not every single piece of American political/pop culture news manages to sneak its way across the 49th parallel, so I’m glad to find this here.
    You’d think “scientists” would put their resources into something a little less lame than being paid to express Republican fears about Jon & Stephen. MS, anyone? Lupus?
    Miss Yaicha, I totally agree with you 100%. About Jon Stewart. Not the Yankees 😉

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