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‘Daily Show’ Viewers Better Informed Than O’Reilly Watchers

Posted on May 25, 2006
Jon Stewart and Bill O'Reilly
From Comedy Central

Jon Stewart spars with guest Bill O’Reilly on “The Daily Show,” Oct. 7, 2004.

During his May 23 show, Bill O’Reilly claimed that many young Americans have “no idea what’s going on,” stating that they get their news from Jon Stewart. Problem is, studies show that Stewart’s viewers are better informed than most other media consumers—considerably better than viewers of “The O’Reilly Factor.”

Media Matters:

During the May 23 edition of Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor, Bill O’Reilly asserted that “[m]any Americans ages 18 to 24 have no idea what’s going on,” stating that they “get their news from [Comedy Central host] Jon Stewart and their point of view from bomb-throwing entertainers.” In fact, studies have shown that viewers of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with John Stewart are consistently better informed about current events than consumers of other media, and Daily Show viewers are considerably better educated than viewers of The O’Reilly Factor. Further, consumers of Fox News in general have been found to be significantly more misinformed about current events than consumers of other mainstream media.

In 2004, the nonpartisan Annenberg Public Policy Center released its National Annenberg Election Survey, which found Daily Show viewers to be better informed on campaign issues than consumers of other late-night television programs, newspapers, network news, or cable news. In a press release, Annenberg senior analyst Dannagal Goldthwaite Young said: “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.”

The survey asked respondents to answer a six-question quiz designed to measure “political knowledge.” Daily Show viewers ages 18 to 29 scored higher than those who consumed any amount of network news, any amount of newspapers, or one to three days of cable news; young Daily Show viewers scored the same as young viewers who watched four or more days of cable news. The survey did not say what percentage of Daily Show viewers regularly consumed news from other media outlets. Overall, Daily Show viewers scored the highest out of any group surveyed, with Daily Show viewers answering, on average, 60 percent of the questions correctly.


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By James Bones, May 31, 2006 at 5:56 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Still Bill has a Germany Sherpard mentallity, Which means he is train by Fox news, and he obeys his master.

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By Freeburd, May 26, 2006 at 12:20 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As a political and religious ‘amateur’, I certainly don’t stick my hand out to tag myself into the mosh pit of internet commentary.  As a matter of fact, I rarely make it to the comment sections of ANY news publication or blog because of the consistent pattern of justifications on peoples beliefs, offered in a streamlined, inerrant perspective on how “I’m right and you’re wrong’.  Ugh, what a waste of people’s time. 

What I do have the time to comment on is the fact that, per Jon Stewarts rants, there is a lack of reasonable people in our country at the reins of both politics and religion, as well as the voice of our internet community and contributers.  Honestly, it is unbelievable to me how talented, and often well-educated, people must be to take a ‘losing side’ and pursue an argument.  C’mon… what reasonable person could argue that Bill O’Reilly isn’t arrogant… or that Bush hasn’t made substantial mistakes that if the table had been turned wouldn’t have knocked a democrat out of office by the red-nation Republic that we live in?  What reasonable person could contest the inerrancy of their Holy Book, while others argue for their own? 

Maybe “I’m” missing the point.  Maybe all of those kids that learned to Bullsh*t their way out of a paper bag when they were children have taken a liking to the skill and the adrenaline rush that comes with rationalizing a point that is unjustifiable.  Where would we be if people that contribute to these arguments actually put their voice, and talents, to good use… being reasonable, being efficient, and being productive for this nation.  Instead, it is a scouting base for big oil, big tobacco, and pharmaceutical companies that need lobbyists that have super talent at twisting the truth. 

Great article…  Great comments…  Great waste of talent.

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By Bill, May 26, 2006 at 8:15 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

WAIT A MINUTE!!  Whaddya mean ‘The O’Reilly Factor’ isn’t a comedy show??!!  Seriously?  Oh.

Never mind.

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By beatnik501, May 26, 2006 at 7:42 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

funny how people compare “real journalist” with comedians.even funnier when those “journalist” o pundits,trying to talk seriously abut the issues fail miserably to be either fair or balance.
i personally watch both,one to make me laugh and the other to hear what people i don’t usually agree with, have to say.both make me laugh,only with fox news, my smile gets a little more tense….
you can’t have a solid opinion if you don’t listen to every side.

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By Bill, May 26, 2006 at 6:02 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I have to admit that when I want some laughs I’ll watch ‘The O’Really Factor’ (a title borrowed from Herr Olbermann).  The ‘logic’ Big Bill applies to things and the size of his ego?!! Now THAT’S comedy! As funny and insightfully sacastic as Jon Stewart is, for pure over-the-top hillarity, O’Reilly’s a tough act to follow.  Anyone who’s willing to go on national television and make that much of a fool of himself day after day just to make someone like me laugh deserves an Emmy!  It’s like mental slap-stick!  And he does it sooooo DEADPAN!!! What a howl!!!

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By Mace Price, May 25, 2006 at 11:47 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

John Stewart’s obviously in love with himself. If ya ask me he’s too cute by half and worse, he thinks all objectivity is a prism that first passes through him for approval and interpretation; a kind of Political Norman Mailer to be swallowed with the painful frivolity of Robin Williams. If that isn’t bad enough? He’s ugly to boot…While self styled bad ass Bill O’Reilly’s one of those egocentric loudmouths who thinks because he’s tall, that he’s tough—He even has the temerity, if not the bad taste, to brag on the air about how people get out of his way when they see him coming—“I’m 6’4” and when—” Nobody wants to hear that shit. I know I don’t. That and the first and last words out of his yap are usually “I”...He’s one more in a long line of Conservative, Sound bite Samurais with a Pitbull mouth and a Puppy’s ass. You should make an effort to find better examples of talking heads to publicise. Because I for one, am sick to death of these two bullshit artists as being somehow held as significant. They’re not.

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By homo-sum-humani..., May 25, 2006 at 9:07 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Actually, John Stewart pointed that out Oct., 2004.  Its nice to O’Reilly has honed his skills to the point that he can repeat the same line that was disproven years ago. That takes balls…. instead of brains or character.

Thank you Mr. O’Reilly

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By Jimmy, May 25, 2006 at 8:00 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Who’s this “Bill O’Reilly” jackass?

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By anonymous, May 25, 2006 at 6:20 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I never miss The Daily Show and never watch the Fox News Channel.  I read Truthdig & Truthout every day.  I wish I didn’t have to pay for the Fox News channel in my basic cable package.  I’d pay a lot for Comedy Central if I had to.  Lieberman’s a boring jerk.

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