Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Jon Stewart - America's anchorman

I just read the other day that Jon Stewart, the host of the Daily Show ranks 4th among Americans as a News Anchor that they most admire. It’s pretty amazing, given the fact that he hosts a fake News Program.

This was also pretty interesting to the Pew Research Organization, so they set about to study the “Daily Show” for one year.

According to their findings:

“The program also makes heavy use of news footage, often in a documentary way
that employs archival video to show contrast and contradiction, even if the purpose is satirical rather than reportorial….In addition, "The Daily Show" not only assumes, but even requires, previous and significant knowledge of the news on the part of viewers if they want to get the joke. And, in 2007 at least, the joke was more often on the Bush administration and its fellow Republicans than on those from the liberal side of the aisle.”

“In its choice of topics, its use of news footage to deconstruct the manipulations by public figures and its tendency toward pointed satire over playing just for laughs, The Daily Show" performs a function that is close to journalistic in nature -- getting people to think critically about the public square. In that sense, it is a variation of the addition of Russell Baker, Art Hoppe, Art Buchwald, H.L. Mencken and other satirists who once graced the pages of American newspapers.”
For a good example of this, check out this recent episode, where John Stewart makes fun of the Offshore Drilling Issue. The funniest part is where you see McCain surrogates making claims that keep reducing the time that we would get relief at the Gas Pumps from OffShore drilling. He does this by using actual footage of what was said, and not just opinion. But lest you think this is a stacked deck against Republicans, Obama is not offlimits to Jon's tongue-in-cheek humor. Though there certainly seems to be more material to make fun of with McCain.

If you want to know more about the Pew research on the Daily Show, check out their website. I thought it was pretty enlightening!
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