Monday, October 11, 2004

The Quality of Information of the Daily Show

Reading the Manoff and Schudson (pg. 14 of the PDF) piece, I ran across this passage:
Although the dateline is a formality today, references to place do still served to establish the authority of news reports. This is most common in television, where the reporter appears before a setting that shows he or she was "really there" - the anchor appears in Beirut or, more routinely, the Pentagon correspondent appears next to a briefing-room podium with an official seal.
What instantly came to mind is Comedy Central's Daily Show with John Stewart. On the Daily Show correspondents are routinely put in front of blue/green screens and "pretend" to be in the place they are reporting on. Often the crowd laughs at the beginning of these pieces as they, being in the studio, can see the reporter right in front of them standing in front of the screen.

This made me think of the quality of information in general on the Daily Show. It sure as hell is funny, but is it anything more than that? I think so; It has a way of presenting certain issues and highlighting the really ridiculous parts of news-related stories. It does, in the end, have an certain impact as evidenced by: guests like Bill Clinton and John Kerry; a couple emmy awards and; ridicule from popular conservative talk show host Bill O'Reilly who called the audience of the Daily show a bunch of "slacker stoners."

If you've never seen much of the Daily Show... check out Lisan Rein's archive.


Blogger Catherine Newman said...

While the conservatives might think the Daily Show worthless drivel, Jon Stewart is all over the press this week. He could be heard several times on a handful of NPR programs over the weekend. In addition he is on the cover of Rolling Stone and TV Guide. Plus, Jon Stewart was on Crossfire this week and called the show out for being nothing more than theatrics on the side of big business. It is true that the Daily Show does have a book out now that its promoting, one statistic I heard this weekend was that for people 18-32, we get a third of our news from satirical/comic sources. What's wrong with that? I would argue that I don't trust any news source as being fair and balanced, so that isn't really a criterion that the Daily Show has to fulfill for me.

7:26 PM  

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