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September 27, 2004

Annenberg: Daily Show Best Source of News

As a long-time fan of Jon Stewart, it comes as no suprise to me that a survey has confirmed that it's the best source of news on television, its viewers better educated about the news than regular viewers of network news or readers of newspapers. (See the Annenberg release on the right-hand column):

Viewers of late-night comedy programs, especially The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on Comedy Central, are more likely to know the issue positions and backgrounds of presidential candidates than people who do not watch late-night comedy, the University of Pennsylvania’s National Annenberg Election Survey shows. . .

In fact, Daily Show viewers have higher campaign knowledge than national news viewers and newspaper readers - even when education, party identification, following politics, watching cable news, receiving campaign information online, age, and gender are taken into consideration.

Of course, some folks watch the Daily Show because its jokes assume a high interest in political campaigns and policy issues, but the reality is that it also has a high-level analysis that conveys more new information than most television news shows.

Personally, I stopped watching television news a long time ago. It provides so little information and most of the segments are low-value filler. In all seriousness, Stewart's opening news opening is the densest and most substantive five to ten minutes of news analysis on television.

And the fact that he uses humor doesn't make it less sophisticated but more, since jokes are by their nature a concentrated nugget of analysis. Each joke has the essential kernal of a long editorial.

So the results are unsurprising, although it may put to rest the characterization of Stewart viewers as stoned slackers.

Posted by Nathan at September 27, 2004 07:03 AM