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The Daily Show as Substantive as Broadcast News 669

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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  • Well duh (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ignorant Aardvark ( 632408 ) <> 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.
  • Old news. (Score:5, Informative)

    by khasim ( 1285 ) <> 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. litics/ []

    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".
  • by kjart ( 941720 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @09:39PM (#16315441)

    This is very weak, and very typical of Slashdot "editing".

    For once this doesn't really have anything to do with Slashdot editing. The linked to article makes the same extrapolation. The actual title of the study is apparently No Joke: A Comparison of Substance in The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and Broadcast Network Television Coverage of the 2004 Presidential Election Campaign. I dont see any links to it, but it sounds like it supports that case for at least that specific story. Generalizing the specifics of a story for the purposes of headlines is pretty common amongst news sources.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @09:49PM (#16315551)
    Network news may not be the best source for factual information about current events. But then again, that's not really its purpose. The mainstream media is run by corporations for corporations. It's there to make them profit.

    Some of that profit is derived from the advertising of products put out by other corporations. While such products may be actual goods or services, other times that product is a political message. That political message often turns around and helps the parent corporations of the major media outfits benefit in some way.

    Take NBC. It's owned by General Electric. General Electric is well-known for their weapons manufacturing. So of course it is in their best interest to monger war on their news programs. Not only do they attract viewers who are hyped up on American nationalism, but they also support and promote the business of their parent company. And at this, they do a very good job.

  • Re:Flawed Study (Score:4, Informative)

    by Jeff DeMaagd ( 2015 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @10:38PM (#16316023) Homepage Journal
    TDS may be left wing but they do mock the Democrats a lot. Jon Stewart even called them Ewoks once in reference to their powerlessness, mocked John Kerry many times, as well as picked on many other Democrats. Stewart has even said in interviews with other shows that the Democrat's message is weak to the point of being worthless that they really aren't an effective alternative to sway voters away from the Republicans.
  • Re:Flawed Study (Score:3, Informative)

    by eieken ( 635333 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @10:46PM (#16316099) Homepage
    You sir, are an idiot. It is as if you haven't ever watched the show, you know full well that they attack both democrats and republicans equally. Both extreme sides of the political spectrum are very good fodder for a political comedian. In case you haven't noticed, the democrats haven't been much in the spotlight since the republicans took both houses, therefore there is very little news to make fun of.
  • Re:Well duh (Score:4, Informative)

    by Monkeyboy4 ( 789832 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @10:51PM (#16316147)
    If you RTFA, the researcher did a content analysis process that has been used for decades to ascertain the amount of coverage on 'issues v image' where issues are defined as those topics that are on a partiy's or candidate's platform. The definition of substance is right there in TFA.

    The problem is that social scientests efine things in TFA that they publish, and journalists try to make them look intereting when they are bounded conversations about specific variables. However, in this case,The Daily Show covered less marketing adn more real news. Go them!
  • by Headcase88 ( 828620 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @10:53PM (#16316175) Journal
    "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 segment [] to get the hilarity. (This whole thing is funny, but if you want Zell, skip to 3:15). I can't find the fire safety sign one though.
  • by JKConsult ( 598845 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @11:22PM (#16316389)
    Well, technically, it's on what came out of the combination of The Comedy Channel and Ha!
  • by Jeremi ( 14640 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @11:52PM (#16316671) Homepage
    Yes, but the Daily Show is not SUPPOSED to have "substance". It's on the COMEDY CHANNEL for chrissakes.

    The Daily Show is an interesting (if perhaps unintentional) solution to the problem of political news. The problem is: politics either is so full of bullshit and spin that it disgusts people, or it's so dry and abstract that it bores people. Either way, the networks found that when they covered politics, their ratings went down, and when they covered other things (read: fluff), their rating went up. Their response was the obvious thing to do when you're in it for the money: cover the bare minimum of politics, and spend more time on other, more "fun" stuff.

    The Daily Show, on the other hand, takes a different approach: it covers politics and makes its political coverage enjoyable to watch, by making it funny. Also, because it doesn't bill itself as a serious news show, it is free to say things that traditional news shows can't or won't (ironically, because they want to preserve their reputation for "objectivity", which is in tatters nevertheless... because objectivity is an impossible standard to reach, even in principle. One person's "straight facts" are another person's "obvious bias"). That means that there is often more information available in a TDS episode than in the news, because TDS isn't afraid to connect the dots for its viewers.

  • by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @12:09AM (#16316821)
    Yes, but the Daily Show is not SUPPOSED to have "substance".
    Why do you say that? If you follow the Daily Show you won't miss any major national stories. The fact that the stories are accompanied with (supposedly humorous) commentary doesn't really affect the information content.
  • Re:Well duh (Score:4, Informative)

    by PhreakOfTime ( 588141 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @12:17AM (#16316861) Homepage
    By your very own words, you fail to see the difference in these 'mistakes'.

    I once saw CNN...

    both events of which you describe were LIVE programs. Bill O'liely is a recorded show. This 'mistake' also appeared on the AP news wire... Not only describing Foley as (D), but also the now pressured Hastert as the (D) from Illinois. Im not really sure what kind of misleading information a almost imperceptible graphic of an 'x' during a live interview would give you, but obviously we have different thought processes.

    Link that show the 'mistaken label' all over the place [].

    Keep smiling, it could never happen here. Just like you have always been told...

  • by Rooked_One ( 591287 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @01:09AM (#16317163) Journal
    John Stewart is a true patriot. He was on crossfire a while back (i'm sure its on youtube or something). He reamed the hosts up and down for how they are doing a piss poor job of doing thier job, and instead are making it nothing but drivle. The hosts even had the nerve to compare their show to his, and he laughed at them and told them it was on comedy central.

    I believe crossfire was canceled soon afterwards

  • by treke ( 62626 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @02:44AM (#16317627)
    The transcripts are available online at CNN: 01.html []

    STEWART: It's not honest. What you do is not honest. What you do is partisan hackery. And I will tell you why I know it.

    CARLSON: You had John Kerry on your show and you sniff his throne and you're accusing us of partisan hackery?

    STEWART: Absolutely.

    CARLSON: You've got to be kidding me. He comes on and you...


    STEWART: You're on CNN. The show that leads into me is puppets making crank phone calls.


    STEWART: What is wrong with you?

    Though I think his intention isn't to say that the Daily Show isn't intended to have substance, but acknowledge that they will sometimes sacrifice substance in favor of the presentation in a way that isn't appropriate for a program that intends to be taken seriously.
  • by Osiris Ani ( 230116 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @02:50AM (#16317657)

    "I recently read a survey that said that 30-40 percent of Americans get their news from late night comedy shows, and I just want to say one thing to those people... DON'T DO THAT! WE MAKE THINGS UP! WE DON'T KNOW WHAT WE'RE DOING!"

    - Jon Stewart {The Daily Show}
  • by Monkey-Man2000 ( 603495 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @04:16AM (#16317999)
    I noticed that as well, and cites Jon Stewart's appearance as the reason [] Crossfire was canceled. He should probably appear on some other CNN shows if he's the catalyst for cancellation, but what are the odds of that ever happening again?
  • by RajivSLK ( 398494 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @05:00AM (#16318157)
    To be fair CNN had dug up and aired all of the clips of Cheney's previous comments and they interviewed the CIA analyst, who's questions led Cheney to deny that he had previously claimed that there was a link between Al-Quaeda and IRAQ. They did all this BEFORE the daily even aired that night.
  • by quantaman ( 517394 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @05:43AM (#16318379)
    Actually if wikipedia is to be believed Tucker Carlson [], the conservative host of Crossfire that Stewart went the hardest on, actually resigned from Crossfire sometime before that for exactly the reasons that Stewart was talking about when he was on the show. That's probably the reason that he didn't fight back much, he actually agreed with what Stewart was saying.
  • by gkhan1 ( 886823 ) <oskarsigvardsson ... m minus language> on Thursday October 05, 2006 @08:00AM (#16319133)

    Boy, are you totally missing Jon Stewarts arguments.

    His claim wasn't that Crossfire was biased, his claim was that Crossfire was political theater and nothing else. It was simply a show that featured people screaming their heads off at eachother, and Stewart argued that this is detrimental to the political climate. He said that it increased bi-partisanship, it increased disrespect for anyone not sharing all of ones views and it genereally increased division in America. He said that a news show has a responsibility to be clear, to be honest, to give every argument the time that it needed.

    To this, Tucker Carlson responded "Well you went really easy on John Kerry. so you suck!", basically commiting all the sins Stewart had accused him off. The fact is this: it's not Jon Stewarts job to ask the hard questions. His job is to be entertaining, to provide a humorous commentary on the top stories in the news. When he has guests on, he treats them (unlike Carlson) with respect, he honestly asks their opinion and lets them give their views on different matters. If he debates them, he is kind and respectful, and he gives them the time to respond in a calm fashion. Tucker Carlson doesn't get this, because in his world-view, if you didn't mercilessly attack your guests, you're not doing your job. He is what is wrong with media in US today, and Stewart confronted him on it. And, to quote Stewart, he faught the law, and the law LOST!

  • by FatherOfONe ( 515801 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @09:26AM (#16320077)
    "John Stewart is a true patriot."

    He is a Jewish Liberal. You may find that he is a "true patriot" but others may not. Heck even his writers admit that they are liberal.

    Truthfully, he is someone who has a TV show that knows his demographics and makes sure his show caters to that market. He is no different than Rush, except that he occasionally has segments on Democrats. The other small difference between the two is that John hides behind "political satire" when confronted with real questions about his show. So he tries to make political points and send out a liberal message, while at the same time saying the show is just "political satire".

    So again, you say he is a "true patriot". Some others say he is politically motivated, while others say he is just smart and has targeted a market of people that puts food on the table for him. I personally look at some of the "true patriots" of America, and honestly don't see John Stewart on the list, then again I very seldom watch his show, and don't know what he does outside of his show. Perhaps he donates a ton of time and money to his church, or helped in other charities... somehow though I believe that you think he is a patriot just because of his constant attacks on an administration you hate.

    Lastly, have you ever heard Julia Carson speak? If you don't understand my question then you probably get your "news" from the Daily Show and CNN.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 05, 2006 @10:25AM (#16320961)
    Any law with drawn with intent to influence church attendance. Many of the can't purchase alcohol on Sunday or before noon on Sunday fall into this category.

    Oh, how about prayer in school? Hrmm, religious indoctrination? Going even further, wanting to teach a Philosophy as a science (Creationism and ID).

    Laws banning sexual behavior amongst consenting adults because a religious text says its bad.

    The "value" that a child in the system shouldn't be adopted to a loving and qualified Gay couple based on their sexual orientation. No it's way better to keep those kids in the system - where no one gives a shit, than to let them be exposed to homosexuality. It's not like their getting raped in group homes anyway.

    Capital punishment through inhumane means. I guess it's not enough that were killing these fuckers (real Christian by the way), no we have to do it in a painful manner. Electric chairs and hangings. I guess a lethal injection is just to good for them.

    Decency and obscenity laws. Are you fucking kidding me? Who the hell are you to dictate personal taste. While there should be laws in place to protect people from being exploited and manipulated. Consenting adults should be able to do whatever the hell they want to as long as there is no harm to outside parties. Is there some material you don't want your kid to see, you control your own kid. Not limit what the adults can do because you suck as a parent.

    The suspension of Habeas Corpus.

    How that for starters?
  • by cduffy ( 652 ) <> on Thursday October 05, 2006 @10:42AM (#16321223)

    I do not submit that most republicans believe all of the below. I do submit that the present (neoconservative) Republican leadership has been acting in a manner consistant with them, however -- and I've been fairly careful to only select items which I can find quotes or actions from present leadership to back up. (That's not to say that I'm necessarily interested in doing so, however). These are only the items off the top of my head; there are certainly many more.

    Again: I'm not accusing you of believing these things. I'm accusing the people you helped to elect of acting in a manner consistant with them (and frequently espousing them openly).

    • Government has a legitimate role in enforcing personal morality.
    • Unilateral use of force for purposes other than immediate defense of oneself or one's allies is not inherently illegitimate.
    • Achieving military objectives is more important than maintaining personal liberties.
    • A free media threatens legitimate governmental interests unless placed under substantial controls.
    • A strong, empowered leader granted wide powers (with which to attack our enemies) is a Good Thing.
    • The executive branch of government may have a legitimate need to act outside of the law, and should be able to prevent laws from being enforced which could hamper its actions (when those actions are taken in the interests of national security).
    • The executive branch of government should be able to avoid transparency when it sees fit, including in cases where it uses its powers to act in a manner not consistant with standing law in the interests of national security.
    • Questioning strong leadership in the context of an active conflict is inherently unpatriotic.
    • Noncitizens do not need to be granted the same rights as citizens.

    Finally, there has absolutely been a departure from the fiscally conservative policies which the Republican party once stood for. I used to support the Republicans on fiscal matters, the Democrats on social ones and the Libertarians at the ballot box; presently, I am obliged to throw my support behind the Dems until we switch to a system of elections (such as Instant Runoff Voting) which would allow me to express a more nuanced view of my beliefs at the ballot box.

  • by M1FCJ ( 586251 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @11:12AM (#16321763) Homepage
    BBC is very good. My favourite is BBC Radio 4's Today programme [] with their very aggressive questioning tactics. OTOH, they had a huge scandal with the sexing up affair.

    The fact that such grilling of politicians and officials is possible in UK shows how the democracy and self-critisism functions in UK. All I can see from American news sources is grovelling or very deep rhetoric divided through the party lines, rejecting everything the others do. Here the same anchorman can grill the Tories one day and do his best against Labour the next day or even minute - leave alone their own political ideas (James Naughtie [] of Today Programme supports Labour but still grills Labour ministers in an utter merciless way.

  • by theonetruekeebler ( 60888 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @11:44AM (#16322255) Homepage Journal
    I think he was basically toying [] with O'Reilly. But he's run roughshod over a couple of guests. Bill Bennett had his ass handed to him [], but he pretty much asked for it. Stewart is a very bright man, quick-witted but generally civil. The occasions when he tears into somebody are rare and an awful lot of fun.
  • by Kingrames ( 858416 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @02:14PM (#16325011)
    The show doesn't have a liberal slant.

    It's just that much easier to make jokes about so-called "Conservatives."

    Seriously, the jokes they tell about Democrats are just as funny. One I remember is back when the government completely flopped on the Katrina cleanup, Jon Stewart said something along the lines of "I don't know how the Democrats could possibly pass up the opportunity to take advantage of the situation, but you know they're going to."
  • Re:Well duh (Score:2, Informative)

    by Suggestive Language ( 669379 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @02:54PM (#16325707)
    Stop lying. Just. Stop. []

Exceptions prove the rule, and wreck the budget. -- Miller