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The Daily Show as Substantive as Broadcast News 669

Posted by samzenpus
from the can-I-be-on-the-show-now dept.
Walter C. writes "Anyone who watches the evening news with any regularity knows that it's not a bastion of substance. However, a new study conducted by researchers at Indiana University reports that The Daily Show has just as much substance to it as the broadcast news. 'The researchers looked at coverage of the 2004 Democratic and Republican national conventions and the first presidential debate of the fall campaign, all of which were covered by the mainstream broadcast news outlets and The Daily Show... There was just as much substance to The Daily Show's coverage as there was on the network news. And The Daily Show was much funnier, with less of the hype — references to photo ops, political endorsements, and polls — that typically overshadows substantive coverage on network news, according to the study.'"
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The Daily Show as Substantive as Broadcast News

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @09:20PM (#16315265)
    That the News has as little substance as The Daily Show?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      That the real news is mainly fake too...
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Greyfox (87712)
      Well the article might say that but I tend to find TDS more informative. If you want reasonably objective news, try NPR. They seem less biased than almost everyone else. Notice I don't say "not biased" so don't reply that they're so far left that one's dragging the ground. If you think that you're probably so far right that the wrong one's dragging the ground.

      Anyway even with a couple of high qualty sources a few stories still fall through the cracks. If you really want to stay in the know, you need some

      • by billstewart (78916) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @01:44AM (#16317325) Journal
        Of course NPR's biased. They're the government-funded news station (that's the US definition of "the government", which is the larger entity, as opposed to the definition in parliamentary-structure states, where it's "the current folks at the top".) They're not an outright propaganda station like the Voice Of America, or even a more neutral government mouthpiece like the BBC, and they're a high-quality intelligent and competent group of people, but they're still biased. Their biases are in favor of the overall establishment structure, though mostly neutral about different parties within that establishment. They think the US government should be out doing things, though not always the precise things it's doing, and they're in favor of it being big enough to fund the Arts, including themselves, though they also do their pledge drives. Listen to the Jim Lehrer News Hour some time - they're consistently carrying stories on "What's the government in Washington doing, and how does the rest of the world feel about it", because that's what they think is important. (And yes, there are differences between NPR, PBS, CPB, and their relatives, but they're close enough to lump together.


        They're Establishment - when I want examples of conservative news organizations, I use them for radio and New York Times for print. They're not part of the Bush-Cheney-Rove right-wing mafia that's taken over Washington the last few years (but those thugs have Fox News when they need a mouthpiece.) If I want an example of left-wing media, there's Pacifica, who are unabashedly leftie; it's much easier to work around the biases of a bunch of up-front lefties telling you about some horrendous thing Bush did this time than it is to guess which stories CBS/NBC/ABC didn't report on. (And my use of the NYT as "conservative" doesn't mean I'm far left of the US center - I view the Washington Post as a partisan Democrat paper, and when I worked in DC I'd be more likely to read the Washington Times, which was right-wing and less competent, but did a better job of telling what the then-Democrat Congress was doing, and you could work around its biases about what Reagan, Bush, and Ollie were doing.)

  • Well duh (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ignorant Aardvark (632408) <cydeweys@gmaCOBOLil.com minus language> on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @09:23PM (#16315289) Homepage Journal
    I've been watching TDS for news for awhile now. I can't stomach the other news shows ... they're so full of bullshit. Just yesterday Fox News repeatedly tried to claim that Mark Foley was a Democrat. No thanks, I think I'd rather watch funny satire than bald-faced lies and propaganda.
    • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn&gmail,com> on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @09:32PM (#16315387) Journal
      While you might be able to make a case for any news show being 'full of bullshit,' it is my opinion that The Daily Show's viewers retain so much more information because it is entertaining. News? Entertaining? That's right.

      How do I know what bills are being passed? How do I know who Zell Miller is? Well, if you ever saw the "Zell on Earth" episode from Indecision 2004, you'd never forget the man. If CNN, Fox, CBS, ABC, whoever else tried to cover that, I would have fallen asleep. Not only does it cover just as much material, but I retain far more of it.
      • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @09:48PM (#16315549)
        They stopped being about "news" a long time ago.

        Now, they are ALL about "entertainment". Which is why CNN has "The Situation Room" and such.

        The Daily Show SHOULD be operating with a handicap. They have to focus solely on the items that they can turn into a joke. That should not be easy. They should be scraping the bottom of the barrel.

        But they have one advantage that the "news" shows do not. The Daily Show has SMART people working for it. They REMEMBER previous statements by politicians and they are not afraid to show how the politicians contradict themselves.

        When was the last time you saw actual analysis and comparisons of a politician's statements on a regular news program. Yet they are a staple of The Daily Show. Because it is FUNNY when they catch a politician contradicting him/herself. And then The Daily Show will continue to hammer on the joke.

        It should be stupid. It should be lame. But because the regular "news" shows have abandoned even the pretense of being about "news", The Daily Show wins by default.

        The Daily Show mines recent events for jokes.
        Regular news shows can't even mine recent events for news.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by thrillseeker (518224)
          The Daily Show SHOULD be operating with a handicap. They have to focus solely on the items that they can turn into a joke.

          With a nod to Mark Twain, I can think of 535 starting points that should provide rich sources for jokes.
        • by TubeSteak (669689) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @10:13PM (#16315779) Journal
          It should be stupid. It should be lame. But because the regular "news" shows have abandoned even the pretense of being about "news", The Daily Show wins by default.
          What they've abandoned is a pretense at being Truthful.

          Balanced & Objective != Truth

          News programs nowadays keep trying to present "both" sides of an issue. Well... not everything has two sides.

          There are facts. Not everyone's opinion or interpretation of those facts is equal to everyone else's.

          The Daily Show is what would be considered advocacy journalism (as opposed to objective journalism). Advocacy journalism "is fact-based, but supports a specific point of view on one or more issues."
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Roger W Moore (538166)
          When was the last time you saw actual analysis and comparisons of a politician's statements on a regular news program.

          After living in the US for several years (and having generally stopped watching the news because it did not contain any news) I caught a BBC world service interview with a US diplomat about the US opposition to the international criminal court. The interviewer literaly wiped the floor with this guy but without, in any way, being hostile or argumentative - she did it simply by asking quest
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Headcase88 (828620)
        "How do I know what bills are being passed? How do I know who Zell Miller is? Well, if you ever saw the "Zell on Earth" episode from Indecision 2004, you'd never forget the man."

        That was probably the funniest shit on TDS ever, which is saying a lot. Zell is a cartoon-like madman, wishing he could challenge people to duels and complaining that there are fire safety warnings but no warnings about sinning, I'm not even quoting or explaining the situtation any further because you simply have watch this segmen [youtube.com]
  • by LostCluster (625375) * on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @09:23PM (#16315293)
    The Daily Show: Where more Americans get their news than probably should.
  • Old news. (Score:5, Informative)

    by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @09:24PM (#16315303)
    There was a study that already showed The Daily Show's audience was better informed about the news than people who just watched the regular news.
    http://www.cnn.com/2004/SHOWBIZ/TV/09/28/comedy.po litics/ [cnn.com]

    The issue isn't that The Daily Show is so much better ... it's that network news sucks so bad.

    Or as Mr. Stewart put it (paraphrased) "The show that leads into me is puppets making crank phone calls".
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by crazygamer (952019)
      If you'd read the article you linked to it talks about The Daily Show vs. The Tonight Show and The Late Show. I wouldn't call either of those network news.
      • If you'd read the article you linked to it talks about The Daily Show vs. The Tonight Show and The Late Show. I wouldn't call either of those network news.

        How about an article that compares The Daily Show to O'Reilly? [mediamatters.org]

        Summary: Bill O'Reilly asserted that "[m]any Americans ages 18 to 24 have no idea what's going on," stating that they "get their news from [Comedy Central host] Jon Stewart and their point of view from bomb-throwing entertainers." In fact, studies have shown that viewers of Comedy Central's The

    • Re:Old news. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by drooling-dog (189103) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @10:46PM (#16316095)
      The issue isn't that The Daily Show is so much better ... it's that network news sucks so bad.

      The big problem is that the mainstream media merely report what politicians say with a straight face, and avoid pointing out the absurdities and hypocrisies behind those statements. Why? Because to do so would make them appear "unobjective". In an environment where politics is a three-ring circus, it takes a comedy show to reveal how things really are done.
  • by tkrotchko (124118) * on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @09:24PM (#16315307) Homepage
    CBS has that hard hitting bastion of reporting "Katie Couric".

    How can you take Jon Stewart more seriously than perky Katie?
  • by sponga (739683) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @09:25PM (#16315325)
    are before the show for godsake!
  • by kingbilly (993754) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @09:37PM (#16315423)
    You'll also notice that the daily show is one of the only "news" outlets that will show a video clip of a public figure saying one thing in 2004, then a new video with them saying something that completely goes against their first comment on the matter in 2004. None of the big news outlets dare show such a stunt because that would make public figures accountable. Of course the daily show usually has Jon Stewert making a funny face and then goes to the next topic, but at least they aren't afraid to make someone eat their own words.
    • None of the big news outlets dare show such a stunt because that would make public figures accountable.

      Actually, I think the reason the big news outlets don't do this is because they would lose access to the public figures, who would cut them off. And then TDS's ability to show these clips would disappear as well, since many of the clips *come from* the big news outlets. Sadly, it seems either we accept the soft-and-chewy reporting of the big news outlets as it is, or we get nothing, as the pols will simpl

  • by 1155 (538047) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @09:41PM (#16315477) Homepage
    The other candidates wouldn't matter, Colbert and Stewart would win by a landslide. I'd actually register to vote them into office.
  • by Freedryk (117435) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @09:43PM (#16315493)
    Note that the article make clear they aren't saying the Daily Show's reporting is good--just that it is equally good as serious news shows. What they are saying is, American TV news is a joke.
  • The What? (Score:3, Funny)

    by John Hasler (414242) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @09:55PM (#16315609) Homepage
    I have the good fortune to not have the foggiest notion as to what the Daily Show is.

    I believe I have heard of the Evening News, though. It stars Walter Cronkite, right?
  • Deep Truth (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Gorimek (61128) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @10:05PM (#16315685) Homepage
    A journalist can tell you facts.

    A comedian can tell you truths.
  • by Cutie Pi (588366) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @10:37PM (#16316009)
    Am I the only one here who gets her news from newspapers, ala The New York Times and The Wallstreet Journal? One of the most enjoyable parts of my day is sipping coffee in the morning while reading the newspapers. I can't stand any evening television broadcast of the news, Daily Show or otherwise.

    Have you ever read transcripts of the television news casts? Each story is usually a paragraph of text at most, whereas the reporting on the same subject in a newspaper will usually be several columns.

    It saddens me that today's youth brags about getting all their news from the daily show while newspaper circulation is in rapid decline.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by glesga_kiss (596639)

      Have you ever read transcripts of the television news casts? Each story is usually a paragraph of text at most, whereas the reporting on the same subject in a newspaper will usually be several columns.

      How to Watch TV News [amazon.com] is a fascinating analysis on just why that is. In summation, TV as a different form of media compared to print isn't suited to news with the exception of visual news such as national disasters. For politics and international affairs, TV news doesn't have the time to spend on each issue

  • by jcausey (253286) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @11:52PM (#16316665) Homepage
    Is it just me, or does the Colbert Report make The Daily Show seem semi-legit? Colbert's show is so stuffed with sarcasm and trolling -- on purpose -- it makes Jon Stewart look like Cronkite (well, almost).

    I've been a fan of both programs for quite a while. While their political slants are easy to see, they seem to try to stay as fair as possible -- making fun of both sides pretty equally.

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