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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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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @09:20PM (#16315265)
    That the News has as little substance as The Daily Show?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @09:26PM (#16315331)
    That the real news is mainly fake too...
  • Re:Well duh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Jhon ( 241832 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @09:29PM (#16315369) Homepage Journal
    Yeah... and I'm sure it wasn't an accident that CNN stuck an X over Cheney... Bah. I once saw CNN mislabel Syria as Iraq on a map graphic once. I'm sure CNN wasn't trying to erase Syria... I'm sure CNN wasn't trying to erase Cheney. I'm also sure Fox wasn't trying to convince viewers Foley was a democrat...
  • 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.
  • Re:Well duh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Aardpig ( 622459 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @09:34PM (#16315411)
    But why did they put "Mark Foley (D)" at the bottom of the screen? When Foley is a congressional Republican? Are you retarded or something?
  • Re:Amen... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by GigsVT ( 208848 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @09:35PM (#16315417) Journal
    I bet it's relaxing to not have to think for yourself.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • by dave420 ( 699308 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @09:51PM (#16315575)

    +5, Confused

    If you read the article, it's saying that the news offers as much substance as The Daily Show, not that either does a good job of being a news show. Basically, it's calling the state of US news shitty.

  • Flawed Study (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @09:58PM (#16315633)
    Ok, this study is flawed. they are comparing coverage of a political even to. The Daly Show is a left wing propaganda outfit and as such will have a good deal of coverage of political events, however main stream news also give time to many other events. The Daily Show ignores any event that they can not easily use to support democrats or spread FUD but the president with.

    So completely ignoring the bias of this show it has a much narrower focus, and any study that simply take one item that the show is focused on and comparing it to a very general news cast is not a fair comparison.
  • Re:Old news. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by crazygamer ( 952019 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @09:59PM (#16315641)
    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.
  • by schwaang ( 667808 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @10:00PM (#16315651)
    Is that the Daily show comes with a large dose of cynicism.

    One could argue that the real difference is that broadcast news is cynical and doesn't know it.

    Why? Because while I find the cynicism of Stewart and especially Colbert to be quite corrosive, it's seeing bullsh*t delivered with a straight face on the network news that makes me really cynical. Having Stewart call them on it reminds me that sanity is not completely lost.
  • 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 Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @10:06PM (#16315693)
    We already know. Seriously. The reason everyone I know gets their news from the Internet isn't because it's more convenient, it's because it's more likely to be meaningful.

    The BBC isn't all that, either, you know. It's leaps and bounds better than anything in the States, but it's got a very discernable conservative bias, and it's too damn polite to ever dig very deep. And CNN International? Why are you giving them a pass? It's the same shit with a broader focus, does that make it better?

    The problem is English. Ever since the last bastion of balanced journalism in the US collapsed (NPR in the late nineties), I've been searching for a good English-language news source. I can't find one. I can find plenty of partisan hack jobs with an agenda, from Al Jazeera to CNN, and try to filter through the vapidity and outright bullshit, but frankly I could make up the news and I'd have a good chance of having more insight into current events than any of them.

    So if you know a really good foreign news source with an English version online, I'm all ears. Americans are STARVED for decent news.
  • by cgenman ( 325138 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @10:08PM (#16315729) Homepage
    If the pols stop talking to the media, they won't get their face in the public. If they don't get that exposure, who will vote for them?

    The politicians need the media a lot more than the media needs the politicians.

  • 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."
  • 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.
  • by Simon Garlick ( 104721 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @10:43PM (#16316071)
    Yes, but the Daily Show is not SUPPOSED to have "substance". It's on the COMEDY CHANNEL for chrissakes.

    To say that the Daily Show has as much substance as network news is a vague statement about the Daily Show; to say that the news has as little substance as the Daily Show is a sharp criticism of the news.
  • 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 Ignominious Cow Herd ( 540061 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @11:03PM (#16316257) Journal
    Just because it is on the Comedy Channel and you are supposed to laugh does not mean it is not substantive, insightful, critical, thought provoking, sad, true, accurate, dramatic, etc...

    Of course then there are the fart jokes.
  • Re:Amen...Duh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tuna_Shooter ( 591794 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @11:13PM (#16316337) Homepage Journal
    "I can't be more succinct." No but you might try to be a little smarter from where you get your "news" from. I know this guy bubba down on 12th and market and HE seems to have the inside scoop on everything. You might wan't to look him up !!!
  • 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.
  • by madprogrammer ( 214633 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @12:35AM (#16316983)
    > When was the last time you saw actual analysis and comparisons of a politician's statements on a regular news program.

    When Bill Clinton was president.
  • Worse? Not so... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Animaether ( 411575 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @01:33AM (#16317273) Journal
    You keep using that word - I do not think it mean.. oh forget... the point is this... that one is blatantly obvious. Nobody is going to read that and go "*GASP* He's a fascist!? Let's oust him!"

    But the whole (D) vs (R) thing in U.S. TV is subtle. They don't refer to it, it's not blatantly obvious if you haven't heard of the person they're talking about, so your initial reaction may be (if you're part of Fox's target viewership anyway): "damn democrats"

    And maybe I live in a distorted world, but I find -that- to be much worse than some idiot proclaiming Bush a professional fascist.
  • by danbeck ( 5706 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @01:41AM (#16317307)
    It isn't a real solution because it's narrowly focused on a specific target audience. That being young, politically liberal minded people. If you aren't a political liberal, the Daily Show is only mildly entertaining for it's great cleverness and wit, but the political ranting and (admitedly) overly pervasive liberal slant to everything being said begins to grate on your nerves.

    How many times do we really need to hear that Bush is a dumbfuck, or see Stewart shilling for the latest Democratic candidate?
  • 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.)

  • by danbeck ( 5706 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @01:55AM (#16317385)
    Do you realize that Fox news only gets a few million viewers at it's highest peak in the evening? This is compared to the 40 million or more that network news gets.

    Why are you people so afraid of Fox News? Is it because they don't toe the same line that NBC/ABC/CBS/CNN/MSNBC and the national newspapers toe? Exactly what is it about dissenting political opinion has you so frightened and angry for? Is it not a function of this Representative Republic that we live in, that we have the ability and right to have opinions that differ from the establishment?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 05, 2006 @02:00AM (#16317407)
    Stewart shilling for the latest Democratic candidate?
    You mean like when he compared the dems to Ewoks? Sure, that's a resounding recommendation. Sorry, but your post is nonsense. Do you even watch TDS?

    I'd say you're projecting. If you think that opposition to Bush stems only from dems or liberals, then I'm sorry, but you're just plain wrong. There are plenty of right wingers, including almost every conservative who isn't either a religious loony or a neo-con, who dislike Bush for reasons ranging from the deficit (fiscal conservative my ass) to civil liberties (remeber when "rights" were a conservative ideal? It was what seperated us from the USSR for crying out loud!)

    Stewart sounds like a cynical libertarian to me, not a liberal. He'll readily decry the democrats when they go against his own idea of right and wrong, or when they act spineless, or when they suck up to the neo-cons. He'd fit right in on /., which may explain his popularity here.
  • by Dionysus ( 12737 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @02:02AM (#16317417) Homepage
    They do put a disclaimer in front. Then again, I don't think most people take CNN seriously as a newschannel outside the US.
  • by Korin43 ( 881732 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @02:05AM (#16317439) Homepage
    I agree, it wouldn't be nearly as funny if it wasn't true..
  • Re:Well duh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Aardpig ( 622459 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @02:27AM (#16317551)

    IIRC, 50% of Americans think that Saddam Hussein was involved in 9/11. 50%. That's unbelievable. Why do they think this? Because that's what Fox told them.

    If Fox tells the cattle (deliberately, IMHO) that Foley is a democrat, they'll believe them.

  • by DudemanX ( 44606 ) <dudemanx@Nospam.gmail.com> on Thursday October 05, 2006 @02:27AM (#16317553) Homepage
    IMO, Jay Leno's monologue is an equally good news source.

    Yeah, but the Daily Show is funny.

  • Re:Well duh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gaijin99 ( 143693 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @02:27AM (#16317557) Journal
    There's a saying, "Once is coincidence, twice is hapenstance, three times is enemy action". FOX news labeled Foley as "D-FL" in three separate instances. I could see it as a typo if it had happened once, but three separate times? Nope, I'm pretty sure its because FOX knows that the vast majority of their viewers never watch any other news source so they know they can say anything they want to and their viewers will believe it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 05, 2006 @02:51AM (#16317663)
    Actually, the impression I got from the AC was that he doesn't agree with the assessment that Stewart is liberal, or a supporter of the Democratic party. Perhaps you didn't mean to imply he was, but saying the show had a "liberal slant" does give that impression.

    I'd say that Stewart is a centrist and definately a cynic. By most international standards (I'm Canadian for the record), he's actually more conservative than liberal. Libertarian is perhaps a bit optimistic (I don't entirely agree with the other AC on that), but he certainly isn't liberal from where I'm standing.

    Now, Stewart might support the Democrats over the Republicans on balance, but that isn't quite the same as having liberal bias. Disliking someone and liking their opposite aren't the same. And, softball interview with Kerry or no, he has gone to town on the Democrats more than once. If they controlled any branch of the government, he'd probably go after them more, since he seems to work by attacking the establishment.

    Even if he does support a Democratic candidate, for him that might be as simple as wanting to restore balance of power; I've seen many Americans arguing in favour of having different parties in control of the different wings of government to keep them deadlocked. I could see him supporting a classical conservative candidate if the Republicans chose to field one.
  • Re:Come On (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cje ( 33931 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @02:55AM (#16317689) Homepage
    I think the fact that you're (apparently) unwilling to accept "open criticism" of the American government says a hell of a lot more about you than it does about Jon Stewart.
  • by ivano ( 584883 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @02:58AM (#16317699)
    Correct! People keep on saying how unsubstantive TDS is but it is the ONLY news program that I watch that regularly catches out what politicians say. A case in point: When the VP Dick Cheney said that he never said, or that he couldn't remember saying, that there was a link between Iraq and Al-Quaeda, the Daily Show was the only program to immediatedly follow that denial with the clip of him saying it. If this isn't *objective* journalism then I don't know what is.

    The whole point of the press and news in general is to help the common guy/girl with how their democracy and their representatives are doing. I should not be expected to make a concerted effort everytime a politician says something to go through my archive of news bullentins stretching back a few years to see if the VP was lying/deceiving or not. It is the responsibility of the press and news to do the leg work for me in an objective way as possible. If one news organisation wants to say "he couldn't remember, which is different from lying so we won't pick up on it" that's fine; but I also expect some people to pick up on the codewords for "i know i said it but I'll play safe and hope the average viewer won't remember" which is what TDS did.

    It's a fine line between a democracy that is for the people and a democracy that is for some of people.


  • Re:Well duh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Grym ( 725290 ) * on Thursday October 05, 2006 @03:30AM (#16317811)

    Perhaps you grew up in this type of atmosphere and find it acceptable, but what you are describing, is in no way whatsoever 'reasonable'.

    I have to agree. It's really kind of sad, though. The O'Reilly factor used to be such a good show, and I'm being entirely serious. This may be hard for you to believe, but there's a reason why he became so popular: he was good. Sure, he was mostly conservative, but he used to a respectable analyst that called it as he fairly as he could. In fact, I think if most people who dislike O'Reilly read his books, they'd probably find themselves agreeing with him more than they didn't.

    Unfortunately, he sold out--ironically enough to the "media establishment" that he spoke out so boldly against in his books and previous programs... It's hard to say when, but by my observations it happened approximately six months or so before that sex scandal story became public. When it happened, though, the difference was night and day. All of the sudden, the hard-hitting stories disappeared and were replaced by the "child predator"/flag-burning tripe that characterizes our "news" these days. I can't even watch the show anymore, and this is coming from someone who used to have a "The Spin Stops Here"-doormat in font of his appartment.

    Make no mistake; this incident was no accident. As others have mentioned, the O'Reilly factor is a pre-recorded flagship show. The mistakes that typically characterize the 24-hour news networks simply do not happen on these shows. I'm not one to advocate consipiracies, but somebody was definitely pulling the strings on this one...


  • by Bloggs_99 ( 641671 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @03:57AM (#16317933) Homepage
    But "Many a true word is spoken in jest" Court & Castle Jesters have a long history of saying politically emotive things in the form of jest or song. Saying things that would be unpalletable in serious conversation. And anyway Satire is the only logical way to treat politics. Politicians deserve to have the P*** taken. If you start to take them seriously, you might end up beleiving them, and that path leads to insanity.
  • by blast flame ( 928864 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @05:53AM (#16318415)
    I don't think that will work in practice by might as well give it a try... en.wikipedia.org/wiki/one [slashdot.org] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/two [slashdot.org] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/three [slashdot.org] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/four [slashdot.org] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/five [slashdot.org] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/six [slashdot.org] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/seven [slashdot.org] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/eight [slashdot.org] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/nine [slashdot.org] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ten [slashdot.org] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/eleven [slashdot.org] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/twelve [slashdot.org] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/thirteen [slashdot.org] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/fourteen [slashdot.org] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/fifteen [slashdot.org] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/sixteen [slashdot.org] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/seventeen [slashdot.org]
  • by lubricated ( 49106 ) <michalp AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday October 05, 2006 @06:21AM (#16318567)
    >> You do remember that he softball interviewed Kerry during his campaign, don't you?

    He doesn't grill people that come on the show. In general he has celebrities and the interviews are usually about them. Essentially he softballs everyone because it's not a news show. Those aren't news interviews they are more akin as to what happens on the late show. Bush was also invited and he would have gotten the same treatment.
  • Re:Come On (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TobascoKid ( 82629 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @06:37AM (#16318635) Homepage
    Apparently Stewart no longer cares about balancing his show for the opinions of his more conservative viewers

    Maybe that's because the Democrats haven't done anything funny recently (only a party in power would have the consistent opprotunity to screw up).

    Also, why would you ever expect a comedian to be "fair and balanced"? TDS is a comedy show and I would expect the biases of the comedians to come in to play (in the same way if you went and saw a stand up comedian and he or she started talking politics, you would expect it to be thier biased opinion).

    I admit, I don't really understand the American desire for journalists to not be biased (I live in the UK, but I watch every episode of TDS on More 4) - I'd much rather have thier biases out in the open so I can pick and choose which news source I want to listen to. They've tried to import that concept here with TV news (which is suppossed to be "fair and balanced", at least on the BBC, I'm not sure of the others), but it doesn't work that well (the bias still comes shining through). I'd much rather pick my TV news like I can pick my newspapers, where the biases are both obvious and well known.
  • by kwoff ( 516741 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @07:02AM (#16318765)
    The Daily Show has SMART people working for it.

    I think that is the entire explanation. They have smart people, and they put an effort into producing something of quality. The normal news channels, on the other hand, are interested in presenting news in a way that appeals to as many people as possible, by putting the least amount of effort into it as possible. Just like websites or anything else, content is what matters.

    There's a billboard here that says "Elegance is in the details". That's exactly right; anything of quality, you have to work on it, like a work of art.

  • Re:Well duh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @07:09AM (#16318807) Homepage Journal
    What typo? We're talking about a situation where Fox, in a pre-recorded show, in full view of the producers of the show, put up a caption three times describing Foley as a Democrat.

    There is no possible way in which Fox could have not known that this was inaccurate and in the show before they broadcast it, nor any way in which it is believable that they would have found it too difficult to fix had it been a genuine "mistake." They broadcast it anyway.

    A typo is an accidental mistype you fail to spot before publication. Not a deliberate lie you deliberately allow to be published.

  • by MaxInBxl ( 961814 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @07:10AM (#16318817)
    It seems obvious to me that you can make accurate political comments using humour. Sometimes (as parent points out) it is a lot [i]easier[/i] to use humour. Can't really remember what it's like in the US (I was a young at the time) but I know that satirical political shows abound on EU television channels. I'm guessing that TDS is in the same vein?
  • by kalidasa ( 577403 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @07:20AM (#16318879) Journal

    Very nice repetition of Tucker Carlson's argument [cnn.com] against The Daily Show on Crossfire in - what, 2004? Do you guys have some kind of handbook that you use to remind you what the Party Line is? Perhaps a Little Red Book?

    Outright hatred of AMERICAN values? I've got news for you, buddy: Current Republican "values" are closer to al Qaeda's values than they are to American values. Most of your "values" issues are ones on which the average Wahabbist could nod his head in agreement.

  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @07:37AM (#16318977) Homepage
    Think about this...

    ONLY the daily show had the balls to sat that Senator Sicko was cranking off clum babys to little boys and trying to seduce them online.... plus connected that he was the bastard responsible for overseeing internet child safety.

    FOX news, CNN, CNBC did not have the balls to call the senator what he is.

    I give John Stewart way more credibility than any other TV journalist. All the other journalists are wishy washy, refuse to ask the hard questions, and only report what their controllers tell them to, and then candy coat it... unless it's about "TERROR"

    and yes, this is very sad that a comedy show that is supposed to be giving us humor about the news turns out to be the only real source for news.
  • by GregWebb ( 26123 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @08:10AM (#16319213)

    Over here, some of the best investigative journalism about government and corporate failings I've ever seen was on the Mark Thomas Comedy Product - http://www.mtcp.co.uk/ [mtcp.co.uk].
  • by Shaper_pmp ( 825142 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @08:13AM (#16319231)
    I think this is kind of the point of the article - news shows should be aiming at True and Informative, and are frequently missing.

    The Daily Show is aiming at Funny and still hitting True or Informative as often as the news shows.

    In addition, you know the Daily Show isn't aiming primarily at True or Informative, so you don't automatically believe everything you hear, but are more likely to check elsewhere for confirmation.

    News shows claim a monopoly on Truth and Informativeness, and rely on a historical veneer of impartiality to stop people checking up on them elsewhere.

    Thus the Daily Show is arguably a better primary source of information than mainstream news shows - at least it admits it's inaccurate, and tries relatively hard to skewer both main parties equally. That's way better than a one-sided partial propaganda organ that nevertheless claims it's "fair and balanced"...
  • by DG ( 989 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @09:01AM (#16319769) Homepage Journal
    Jon Stewart takes the time to learn about his guest's point of view BEFORE the show happened.

    Last night he had on a political science professor with a book to shill, "The J Curve".

    And it was immediately obvious that Jon had READ THE BOOK, or at least enough of it to grasp the central thesis. He played ignorant a couple of times (for laughs) but he clearly was keeping up with the guest and knew what he was talking about.

    Do you think any of the Fox News pundits ever do that? Can you see Bill O'Reily (say) going to a screening of Al Gore's global warming movie and actually paying attention to it?

    Seriously, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert give me hope that there still exists intelligence and rational thought in America. They should both run on the same Presidential ticket.

  • by glesga_kiss ( 596639 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @09:34AM (#16320161)
    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 to give much information across. Instead you get sound bites. On the other hand, Katrina and 9-11 were ratings goldmines.

    Ultimately it always comes down to ratings, the bottom line in any media endevour. Americans also don't like bad news, which is why Newsweek localises it's cover for the US market. Example (27 Sept 2006): internationally the cover story was "losing Afganistan". In the states, they got [wikipedia.org] a fluff piece about the photographer Annie Leibovitz.

    It saddens me that today's youth brags about getting all their news from the daily show while newspaper circulation is in rapid decline.

    I'm not sure that they are saying that it's their only source though. For me it's the only US news source I trust, but I round it off with many other international sources. I'm finding blogs are the best these days, simply to act as a filter onto media I wouldn't normally read. Take the Christian Science Monitor; normally I'd stay the hell away from them simply based on their name (Christian science?), but I've read some linked articles on there from time to time that are changing my preconceptions on them.

  • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @09:47AM (#16320357) Homepage Journal
    The Daily Show is an interesting (if perhaps unintentional) solution to the problem of political news

    Let's look at it through the other end of the telescope. You show why the Daily Show is beter entertainment than the evening news. The question we should be asking is, why is it better news than the evening news?

    The answer came to me when I was thinking about the obvious liberal bias of the show. Now before liberal fans of the show skewer me, let me say that I am a liberal fan of the show. Every show has, not just one bias, but many biases. You have to understand how those biases rank against each other.

    TDS has a liberal bias to be sure, but that's not it's greatest bias. It's greatest bias is a mocking bias.

    TV news has much less political bias, but it's the other biases that reaslly matter. Like TDS, TV news has to make a profit. But nobody would watch it if they didn't take it seriously. Safeguarding its legitimacy means not offending people and not rocking the boat too much. The result is so insipid that it would be unbearable to watch if they didn't throw in a little entertainment. But not entertainment that is so entertaining people forget that they're really serious.

    This is where the epiphany hit me. The institution of the great daily newspaper is withering. TV news is so emasculated by its medium it is just plodding mindlessly through the motions. The Daily Show, whose primary bias is to mock, has accidentally stepped into the vacant role of the adversarial press. It takes great courage to speak truth to power. It takes great courage to tell people things they need to hear but which offend them. Unless, maybe, you do it with a smirk. Nobody wants to be poor sport.

    It doesn't hurt that Jon Stewart has turned out to be one of the most interesting interviewers around. His selection of guests, if you took out the entertainment celebrities, would not be out of place for Jim Lehrer, except somehow I retain more from the Stewart interviews. Judged by the Fr. Sarducci five minute university test, only Terry Gross is better.

  • by indifferent children ( 842621 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @10:24AM (#16320929)
    How many times do we really need to hear...

    Until it sinks in.

  • by Johnny5000 ( 451029 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @10:24AM (#16320947) Homepage Journal
    I'd say you're projecting. If you think that opposition to Bush stems only from dems or liberals, then I'm sorry, but you're just plain wrong. There are plenty of right wingers, including almost every conservative who isn't either a religious loony or a neo-con, who dislike Bush for reasons ranging from the deficit (fiscal conservative my ass) to civil liberties (remeber when "rights" were a conservative ideal? It was what seperated us from the USSR for crying out loud!)

    Stewart sounds like a cynical libertarian to me, not a liberal. He'll readily decry the democrats when they go against his own idea of right and wrong, or when they act spineless, or when they suck up to the neo-cons. He'd fit right in on /., which may explain his popularity here.

    The first paragraph you point out the conservatives who don't like Bush, but the second paragraph you make it seem like if Stewart doesn't like the Democrats, he must not be a liberal.

    Most liberals I know are disappointed by the current batch of Democrat politicians, and are perfectly willing to vocalize their displeasure with the spinelessness and neo-con sucking-up. That doesn't necessarily make them Libertarians. Most of them will hold their nose and vote for the Democrat anyway, since the alternative is probably worse.

    Hooray for American politics!
  • by g1zmo ( 315166 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @11:51AM (#16322425) Homepage

    "Straight facts" are straight facts, and "obvious bias" is obvious bias.

    Here's my take:

    The only bit of journalism that is just "straight facts" is the police blotter (in newspapers that still have one). Everything else is written by someone who chooses words and phrases to evoke specific emotions and color the facts with their own bias. That doesn't necessarily imply the intent to deceive or spin or otherwise brainwash the reader. It's just a natural result of a writer conveying information to a reader.

  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday October 05, 2006 @12:01PM (#16322597) Homepage Journal
    It isn't a real solution because it's narrowly focused on a specific target audience. That being young, politically liberal minded people.

    I think people who have no idea what their political views are watch it, too. These people are a larger group than you [appear to] think.

    How many times do we really need to hear that Bush is a dumbfuck

    Perhaps until he's been impeached?

    Clinton was taken to court for a blowjob. Bush has illegally wiretapped citizens, his people have stolen two elections, including through illegal influence of supreme court justices. And he's sending our youth to die so that companies owned/controlled by his cronies can make money.

    I think we need to hear it a few more times.

  • by kalidasa ( 577403 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @12:39PM (#16323445) Journal
    All of your "wedge" issues: gay marriage - al Qaeda is against gay marriage, too. Abortion: al Qaeda is fundamentally against a woman's right to choose - and not just whether or not to have a child. Divorce: al Qaeda has many of the same views about divorce that you'll hear from a lot of right-wing radio commentators. Children born out of wedlock. Prayer in schools - al Qaeda simply goes further and says it should be mandatory, five times a day, and in Arabic. All the things that you Repugnicans (anyone who refers to the "Democrat" party will get called a "Repugnican" from now on) tell the poor semi-educated blue collar folks are "American values" or family values. However, the real American values of democracy, freedom of thought, belief, assembly, and speech, bipartisanship, going to war only when attacked and only against the people who directly attacked us or our allies - things al Qaeda would disagree with, that is - don't seem to be a part of your platform anymore. Used to be that Republicans were conservatives who understood that, back in the good old days of Bush 39 - hell, even Reagan understood a lot of that. But not today.
  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @01:12PM (#16324003) Journal
    Unfortunately, this presents a very effective way for the media to control your thinking. Most rational people have tendency to believe that the truth lies somewhere in the middle of the data points they have. If a media conglomerate owns two channels, and presents one as 'extreme left' and the other as 'extreme right' you will think that the truth is in the middle. But what happens if one is actually slightly-right and the other is insanely-right? You will think the middle ground is quite far to the right of centre.

    Compare EU news channels with US ones. In the EU, 'centre' is quite a long way to the left of where the US presents 'center.' And since rational people know that they don't want to be extremists, moderates in the EU are quite a long way to the left of moderates in the US.

  • by ciardha ( 1009759 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @03:01PM (#16325865)
    Keith Olbermann's Countdown is the only true real news show where journalism ideals are strived for. Olbermann strives to fit Morrow's shoes in a modern context. He does many of the things that people have pointed out the Daily Show does- showing the current leadership contradicting themselves, mocking the infotainment, mocking the news media for saying asinine things (favorite and easiest target Bill O'Reilly) He was the only newscaster in 2004 who reported seriously in the voting machine stories after the election. And he clearly can't abide the blatant lying done by the current administration; he's made several "special comments" about this in recent months. The one weak point, Keith does have on too many Republican mouthpieces as regular commentators, and doesn't call them on their lies. (a polite rebuttal would be nice, no need for stupid shout downs, just something along the lines of what Jon Stewart does when he calls a guest on their spin. Jon is more likely to do that to a reporter than any other guest.) I just wonder why Keith doesn't, when his occasional special commentaries shows he knows they are lying. I've taken to hitting mute when the spinmiester Republican commentators come on; heck Scarborough was more honest when he sat in that spot last night on Keith's show. I started to hit mute but listened to the first sentence before I did, and when Scarborough didn't do the talking points (much) I left the volume up. Olbermann is no "flaming liberal", he's certainly more of the moderate persuasion. I'm mainstream liberal. I find some of the things said on Air America too "tinfoil hat"- the conspiracy stuff especially. I'm a natural skeptic like most mainstream liberals. You're going to have to show me hard proof that something that sounds too outrageous happened- like I still don't believe the Bush administration was directly involved in causing 9/11. I think they just showed arrogance and willful ignorance and didn't believe it could happen here. Olbermann is an old school moderate who has become so outraged at what the Bush adminstration has done that he's coming closer to mainstream liberalism, at least in his heart. It's made him an even better journalist than the pretty good one he was before. Word of mouth is spreading about his show being the one place in the msm where journalism lives. His ratings are climbing every month, so much so that it's even filtered over to the Fox news viewers, they are losing viewers in droves the past few months, and Olbermann's Countdown is the news show that has shown the largest growth in viewers. This is why Olbermann has been able to speak his mind more openly, even though corporation he works for is as Republican biased as all the other msm, Olbermann's ratings trump that. Now, if only they'd grow a clue and dump Carlson and bring Donohue back. The wind is finally starting to favor moderate to liberal voices, if the mainstream news media had any brains they'd be hiring more liberal newscasters- heck get a few leftists like Mike Malloy while they are at it. if they can have all these far right wingers on, they ought to balance it with some leftists, then get a few mainstream liberals like Donohue, and liberal leaning moderates like Olbermann, Rather and Moyers. Of course, if they did that, it would show just how nuts the right wingers who host most of the msm newcasts really are. (It'd expose the crazy on the leftist side too, while showing the mainstream liberals and liberal leaning moderates as the sane, intelligent and normal viewpoints.)

The trouble with the rat-race is that even if you win, you're still a rat. -- Lily Tomlin