Friday, June 23, 2006

The Daily Show Effect

From the Washington Post:

"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....

"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..."

Um, did they consider that maybe those that watch the Daily Show might not otherwise be interested in politics and at least the Daily Show gets them thinking about these things? Maybe CBS news coverage left them less cynical, but raise your hand if you watch CBS News of your own volition. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? CBS News can't inform you if you don't watch it.

The article also said that "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." I don't follow hard news programs. I get my news online. That doesn't mean I don't get hard news. It means I don't get hard news from TV.

This report has left me cynical and distrustful of the news media. It is an enemy of democracy and must be destroyed!

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