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Monday, June 26, 2006 

Jon Stewart, Enemy of Democracy?

Jon Stewart, Enemy of Democracy? > 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.

Jody Baumgartner and Jonathan S. Morris of East Carolina University said previous research found that nearly half -- 48 percent -- of this age group watched "The Daily Show" and only 23 percent of show viewers followed "hard news" programs closely.

To test for a "Daily Effect," Baumgartner and Morris showed video clips of coverage of the 2004 presidential candidates to one group of college students and campaign coverage from "The CBS Evening News" to another group. Then they measured the students' attitudes toward politics, President Bush and the Democratic presidential nominee, Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.).

The results showed that the participants rated both candidates more negatively after watching Stewart's program. Participants also expressed less trust in the electoral system and more cynical views of the news media, according to the researchers' article, in the latest issue of American Politics Research.
"Ultimately, negative perceptions of candidates could have participation implications by keeping more youth from the polls," they wrote.

My Spin

if anything the Daily Show is doing the opposite, it has created a market that has never existed before, people are actually finding politics interesting, granted John Stewart isn't fair but he admits his bias...this show is tapping an otherwise apathethic market of 18-30 year olds who vote at the lowest level. If you ask me that is what their research is showing not that the Daily Show is hurting voting if anything the Daily Show is making people vote.

The biggest problem is there are so few funny/emjoyable news outlets on TV today - if the coversative voice created their own Daily Show then things would be great, instead people are tuning into John Stewart because he's A) funny B) informative C) they can get all their news in a half hour D) he's against the mainstream media

If you want people to tune into the news and watch it, the program has to be enjoyable or else no one but journalists, bloggers, and political science nerds are going to watch, the Daily Show is the best thing to happen to the news in decades.

Why not come to www.enemyofdemocracy.com and register your support for Jon and The Daily Show?
Thanks
Paul

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