Remember when Jon Stewart famously told the “Crossfire” boys that they were “hurting America”? Well, now two political scientists are saying the same thing about Stewart. In a study, students who watched “The Daily Show” developed cynical attitudes about politics, the news media and the electoral system.
Actually, more cynicism and skepticism would be helpful in the age of Bush and his Lies. But if, as the study suggests, “The Daily Show” turns young people off from voting, we can’t be happy about that.
This is not funny: Jon Stewart and his hit Comedy Central cable show may be poisoning democracy.
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.
That’s particularly dismaying news because the show is hugely popular among college students, many of whom already don’t bother to cast ballots.
Jody Baumgartner and Jonathan S. Morris of East Carolina University said 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.
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, according to the researchers’ article, in the latest issue of American Politics Research.
“Ultimately, negative perceptions of candidates could have participation implications by keeping more youth from the polls,” they wrote.
From the Washington Post
Comedian and fake-news anchorman Jon Stewart makes viewers of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” even more cynical, and possibly less likely to vote, two political scientists at East Carolina University say.