Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Daily Show is as substantive as the "real" news

A lot of people, from your humble dragon to Jon Stewart himself, have suggested with differing porportions of humor and outrage, that the average tv news show is no better than the "fake news." A new study by Professor Julia Fox of Indiana University, actually confirms our jokingly paranoid suspiscions. The Daily Show averaged at least as much "substantive" audio and video coverage during the 2004 presidential election as the major networks' evening news shows. In fact their relevant video clips were frequently longer and slightly less slanted towards short soundbites. While this is funny, back-handed praise for the Daily Show, it is damning to the networks. Will this study change the status quo of television news? Doubtful, but perhaps it will motivate some of us to try and expand our sources of information about our world. Hey, a dragon can dream, right?

Is it time to tune out World News Tonight and tune into The Daily Show? Professor Fox doesn't think so, saying that "we should probably be concerned about both of those sources, because neither one is particularly substantive. It's a bottom-line industry and ratings-driven. We live in an 'infotainment' society, and there certainly are a number of other sources available."
It's ironic that Jon Stewart, who seldom hesitates to criticize the media, is turning out tongue-in-cheek content that is just as substantative. It also demonstrates that the mainstream media may not be so mainstream anymore, and that people looking for in-depth treatments of newsworthy topics are often best served by looking in places other than the evening news or The Daily Show, no matter how funny the latter is.

via Slashdot

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