This cynicism, it's a bad thing?
May 15, 2006 8:53 PM   Subscribe

FakeNewsFilter: The Daily Show affects young voters. Researchers at East Carolina University claim that "The Daily Show may have...detrimental effects, driving down support for political institutions and leaders among those already inclined toward nonparticipation."
posted by greatgefilte (69 comments total)
 
GO (ECU) PIRATES!
posted by BeerFilter at 8:59 PM on May 15, 2006


Despite these negative reactions, viewers of The Daily Show reported increased confidence in their ability to understand the complicated world of politics.

Seems the more people understand politics in the U.S., the less they like it.
posted by Dasein at 9:04 PM on May 15, 2006


I was going to say something and then I looked at the post title. I'll leave it at, "I think these researchers are missing the point."
posted by revfitz at 9:04 PM on May 15, 2006


"...among those already inclined toward nonparticipation."

Well, I wasn't going to vote, and then I watched the Daily Show, and now I'm not going to vote.
posted by Zozo at 9:07 PM on May 15, 2006


"We're losing our children to apathy!"
"So?"
posted by Richard Daly at 9:08 PM on May 15, 2006


Seems the more people understand politics in the U.S., the less they like it.

Well, the Daily Show is pretty negative, but come on, things suck!
posted by delmoi at 9:11 PM on May 15, 2006


The biggest problem I see is that they're lumping The Daily Show in with Oprah and Leno as "soft news." But I wouldn't call TDS "soft news." I'd call it "hard news made palatable -- with a delicious caramel center!"

And I'm only halfway through the paper, but it seems like they did the research and then went back and wrote their hypotheses, or at least Hypothesis 2.
posted by dw at 9:15 PM on May 15, 2006


Besides the evidently biased idea of “detriment”, I think the researchers were missing some layers of humor in their summaries of the show’s themes. If they wanted to measure whether TDS is good or bad for public policy, perhaps they should have tested the subjects for their knowledge of facts about current events.

I think TDS is a vital part of the media-political system today. It’s not what every show should be, and it has its own hidden biases, but it cuts through a lot of pretense. My gut feeling is that it’s wonderful, and these are not the kinds of facts that could convince me otherwise.

Disclosure: I am a young voter, a Daily Show and Colbert Report subscriber, and pretty skeptical of our political institutions.
posted by vruba at 9:19 PM on May 15, 2006


If the result of knowing more about our nation's problems is increased apathy, that is a reflection upon the nation's people, not the show presenting the information. ... and I can't say I blame them. One day things will get bad enough that people will want to do something, but at that point, it'll probably be too late for anything democratic to work.
posted by knave at 9:22 PM on May 15, 2006



If you're watching the Daily Show, you're not apathetic enough about politics and current events to sit through joke after joke about politics and current events, and then watch an interview with often obscure figures from the world of politics and current events, the relevance of whom you need to be somewhat pre-informed to grasp. It's good news for democracy, I say.

The ratio of politicians/political theorists/whistleblower apparatchiks to movie stars & celebs has gone increasingly away from the latter. Since the set redesign Stewart seems to be able to take himself more seriously. The major flaw in his interviews had always been his compulsive need to crack a joke just when the person being interviewed is really getting deep into what he needs to say, thereby interrupting the flow of conversation and making the other person feel awkward and unfunny by comparison.

Stewart and Colbert are continually breaking new ground. You can tell they've inspired a really smart, cutting edge support staff - the editing and choice of clips regularly blow my mind. And if you want to know what post-modernism is, Colbert's show, at its best, is an almost Nabokovian masterpiece.
posted by bukharin at 9:25 PM on May 15, 2006


Well, it kind of reminds me of this post. I.e. really poorly written criticism of The Daily Show, claiming that it's "hurting America." (By the way, Stewart kind of owns that angle now, doesn't he?

But again, these "researchers" make some bizarre assumptions right off the bat.

Point 1: "... viewers exhibit more cynicism toward the electoral system and the news media at large. Despite these negative reactions ..."

So, cynicism toward the electoral system and news media = negative. Beg to differ. Cynicism without action functions pretty well as a coping mechanism when faced with crushing despair. (Diebold, Fox News.) Cynicism that spurs action is even better.

Point 2:"... The Daily Show may have more detrimental effects, driving down support for political institutions and leaders among those already inclined toward nonparticipation."

So driving down support for political institutions and leaders = not participating? That's a big assumption. If they're not saying that, are they saying that lack of support for political leaders is bad? Because if in one's opinion, one's leaders suck, then what's a good reaction, according to these researchers?

Point 3:Most jokes from the Daily Show portray politicians negatively.

And it takes a freaking research team to tell me that people will respond by rating said politicians more negatively?
posted by zekinskia at 9:40 PM on May 15, 2006


i was gonna reply but oh fuck it
posted by StrasbourgSecaucus at 10:03 PM on May 15, 2006


ditto
posted by overanxious ducksqueezer at 10:04 PM on May 15, 2006


I can't help but feel that our country would be much, much worse off without The Daily Show. So many times, Stewart was the only one on television to touch a subject that had been nearly blacked out by the mainstream media.

The authors should have done a comparison between Daily Show viewers and Fox News viewers - not that most of us couldn't guess at the conclusions of that report.
posted by rougy at 10:11 PM on May 15, 2006


Well to be fair...there arent a lot of bright spots for TDS to report on these days are there?

Is it any big leap of reasoning to infer Daily Show viewers are likely to view politicians negatively when the only real news in the world is overwhelmingly negative? Wow. That was funding well spent.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:11 PM on May 15, 2006


A new study suggests that cancer patients who are confronted with the grim reality of their situation tend view cancer negatively. Meanwhile, the remaining 1/3 still supports cancer and its policies.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 10:27 PM on May 15, 2006 [2 favorites]


And I'm only halfway through the paper, but it seems like they did the research and then went back and wrote their hypotheses, or at least Hypothesis 2.

Which is, um, the proper way to do things...
posted by delmoi at 11:03 PM on May 15, 2006


If you're watching the Daily Show, you're not apathetic enough about politics and current events to sit through joke after joke about politics and current events, and then watch an interview with often obscure figures from the world of politics and current events, the relevance of whom you need to be somewhat pre-informed to grasp.

I heard an interview with these folks on the radio the other day and I think they have been living in a cave. They were acting like people watched the Daily Show and had no frame of reference for it. The interviewer pointed out that if that were the case it wouldn't really be funny now, would it? They apparently hadn't thought of that.

Wasnt' there some study that showed that people who watch TDS are more educated and informed about current events, or did I make that up?
posted by fshgrl at 11:10 PM on May 15, 2006


Which is, um, the proper way to do things...

Not really. You should state a hypothesis (based on previous knowledge), collect appropriate data to test that hypothesis, then draw conclusions about whether your hypothesis has stood up to the tests you have applied.

You're advocating collecting a random pile of data, then seeing what broad descriptive associations you can make about it. A bit less scientific.
posted by Jimbob at 11:16 PM on May 15, 2006


The interviewer pointed out that if that were the case it wouldn't really be funny now, would it? They apparently hadn't thought of that.

Well, There are a lot of basic jokes in the show as well, so you'd get plenty of laughs. And if you watched the show a while you'd get a good idea of who the main characters were.
posted by delmoi at 11:17 PM on May 15, 2006


Is East Carolina anything like West Dakota, East Virginia, and Old York?
posted by Afroblanco at 11:30 PM on May 15, 2006


I don't understand how negative reactions to politicians could be "despite" a greater store of knowledge about them. I'm not just making an easy politician (or Bush) joke - there's no evidence that TDS/TCR viewers know any less about politics than the non-viewing counterparts, nor is there any reason to assume that they would, by dint of their cynical attitudes. They just have a more negative opinion. Perhaps it's just poor usage of the word "despite," but still.

Also, they don't support their hypothesis that these negative feelings might result in nonparticipation. That's just another assumption they're making. It MAY lead to nonparticipation, or it MAY lead to greater participation, or it MAY lead to everyone growing batwings and playing flying V guitars. An interesting study would have explored that "may," and to see how politically active TDS/TCR viewers are in comparison to otherwise similar non-viewers.
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:48 PM on May 15, 2006


Wasnt' there some study that showed that people who watch TDS are more educated and informed about current events, or did I make that up?

That might be the study that I recall telling me the main source of "news" for a scary proportion (um, 50%+?) of young Americans (up to 30yo?) is TV comedy programs (!) - presumably, TDS. Are there other current-affairs-lite shows there?

(sorry, don't like my chances of finding that study again. well, not without effort)
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:19 AM on May 16, 2006


(by current-affairs-lite, I meant *deliberate* comedy)
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:20 AM on May 16, 2006


fshgrl - you didn't make it up.

'Daily Show' viewers ace political quiz
Survey reveals late-night TV viewers better informed
(CNN)

the salt in the wound is that they didn't just beat their non-viewing counterparts, they beat news paper readers and regular news viewers!

On top of that, "Daily Show" viewers know more about election issues than people who regularly read newspapers or watch television news, according to the National Annenberg Election Survey. (Pop quiz)

the article concludes that TDS viewers are also better educated, wealthier, and probably all around better people than O'Reilly's viewers. except that last part.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 12:30 AM on May 16, 2006 [1 favorite]


i'm glad they didn't test the geek factor, i'd rather not know.
posted by overanxious ducksqueezer at 12:38 AM on May 16, 2006


There seem to be a great deal of value judgements in the paper's abstract that I wasn't expecting in a scholarly work (but political science isn't my field). For instance, the finding that viewers who watch the Daily Show tend to support neither Bush nor Kerry is described as "detrimental," as is reducing support for "political institutions."

I'm curious what a positive outcome would be for these authors. I feel fairly well-educated about the issues, but there are few, if any, electable candidates for higher office who support my positions. Am I a cancer on the body politic? Should I just pick a side and thank my lucky stars that about 1/300 millionth of my voice was heard on the national stage?

The authors also spend a good deal of time lumping the Daily Show in with the David Letterman, Jay Leno, and Oprah Winfrey(?!) shows, which seem to me to be qualitatively different, in order to make rather overambitious statements about "late night talk shows." Where are Dennis Miller and Bill Maher's shows, or the SNL news bit, or other TV shows which are explicitly focused on political satire?
posted by whir at 12:58 AM on May 16, 2006


The apathy toward politics has been growing for 30+ years. The Daily Show has had little to do with this. But as we all know, those in power rely on an apathetic population to push their agendas. So as long as the plebs think voting/getting involved in politics will not make a difference then the more entrenched the status quo shall remain.
posted by quadog at 1:12 AM on May 16, 2006


Shoot the messenger!
posted by beno at 1:13 AM on May 16, 2006


And people laughed when I said Jon was a Lefty Rush.
posted by HTuttle at 2:54 AM on May 16, 2006


And they still do, HTuttle, they still do.
posted by absalom at 4:09 AM on May 16, 2006


john stewart is hooked on drugs?? lefty drugs? seriously though - no. he's not. Rush is a righty Howard Stern - if you want to be uncharitable to Howard.

"Why is it that whenever a corporation fires workers, it's never speculated that the workers might have deserved it?"

Speculating as to how a Mexican won the New York marathon: "An immigration agent chased him for the last 10 miles."
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 4:12 AM on May 16, 2006




Stewart seems smarter and better informed than about 99 percent of US citizens. Worse things could happen than a million potential nonvoters saying to themselves, "Ah, hell, I hate all the bastards running this year, but I'll go along with Jon and hope he's right."

All Stewart would have to do is make it clear that he does vote, that he will vote in the upcoming election, and that he's definitely voting for a certain candidate or party because they suck less (perhaps much less) than the alternatives.

Or does he not vote?
posted by pracowity at 4:21 AM on May 16, 2006


He voted for Kerry.

I, for one, feel completely disengaged from the message of either party these days. Maybe it was The Daily Show who parted the curtain for me. Maybe not. Mostly it's about 'follow the money trail;' there's a shitstorm of corporate dollars surrounding every major politico. The elected ones prostitute their jobs to get reelected and the talking heads are just squawkboxes for whatever ideology is being bought and sold this week. I'm just sick of it all. Publicly funded candidates and elections are the only things that will save our country.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 4:59 AM on May 16, 2006


I'll try to keep any snark out of this. My problem with this journal article is that some political scientists try too hard to treat their humanities based inquiry as a reductive science. Baumgartner's class site has many references to just this. I won't link, becuase it really isn't necessary.

rxrfrx also points out, if somewhat cryptically, that Baumgartner comes to this with prejudices only thinly veiled. Time spent at http://jodyb.net will help put into perspective this author's biases and that his research is to try to make elctioneering a predicitve science. My guess is that this is in hopes of becoming a campaign consultant--perhaps he envisions himself as a Carville or Dick Morris. Lord knows that we need more of them in American politics.
posted by beelzbubba at 5:15 AM on May 16, 2006


"Most jokes from the Daily Show portray politicians negatively."

Jokes? Portraying something negatively? What's funny about that!?!

Seriously. When was the last time you heard a joke that didn't portray it's subject negatively? TDS does political jokes. What are they supposed to be if not negative?
posted by jacquilynne at 5:42 AM on May 16, 2006


"They lie about marijuana. Tell you pot-smoking makes you unmotivated. Lie! When you're high, you can do everything you normally do just as well ... you just realize that it's not worth the fucking effort. There is a difference."

-Bill Hicks

posted by prostyle at 5:49 AM on May 16, 2006 [1 favorite]


correlation does not imply causality. lather, rinse, repeat.
posted by whatnot at 6:08 AM on May 16, 2006


Most jokes from the Daily Show portray politicians negatively

As opposed to the rich tradition of political humor that portrays them positively?
posted by kirkaracha at 6:45 AM on May 16, 2006


<stand-up&gt
Don't you just hate comedians who start their routine by talking about things they hate? Am I right, people?
</stand-up&gt

Having only seen clips/parts of episodes of the Daily Show, I still don't quite understand what the big deal about it is. The political humour in it wasn't very clever. I found it rather low-brow and loud. Have I judged the show wrong? Lots of mugging towards the camera as well...

My background is Finnish & English culture, both of which are countries that love taking the piss out of their politicians, usually in weekly TV-shows. Is political humour so rare in America?
posted by slimepuppy at 6:49 AM on May 16, 2006


Gah, borked the &gt > thing. Was fine in preview.
posted by slimepuppy at 6:50 AM on May 16, 2006


So 700 students watched one 8-minute collection of clips from either the Daily Show or the CBS Evening News, and answered a questionaire before and after. And this merits a press release? Holy shit. What an embarrassment to ECU this study is. And to poli sci research.

But the best part is rxrfrx's link to Jody Baumgartner's letter to his sons:

I will tell you that since Franklin D. Roosevelt, who led us through pre and WWII (1933 - 1945) up to and including our present President, I have without exception, supported our presidents on all matters of international conflict.

And this guy's studying *cynicism*? Then he goes on to list the causes of anti-U.S. terror attacks, starting with the 1979 Iran embassy takeover.

2. Why were we attacked?
Envy of our position, our success, and our freedoms. The attacks happened during the administrations of Presidents Carter, Reagan, Bush 1, Clinton and Bush 2. We cannot fault either the Republicans or Democrats as there were no provocations by any of the presidents or their immediate predecessors, Presidents Ford or Carter.


Omigod. I know it's aimed at his kids, but come on. *No provocations* for the Iranian embassy takeover? Like, no coup that installed the shah? No decades of support for a fascist Iranian leader? No complete mishandling of the diverse groups of folks revolting against that leader? Wow, what a simplistic take for a social scientist to be spreading around.

Have I mentioned that this is a real embarrassment for ECU?
posted by mediareport at 7:15 AM on May 16, 2006


mediareport, especially when you read that part, you can see how he'd be interested in painting any criticism of war as "cynical" and unproductive. That page I linked is unbelievable... at the end he actually writes in favor of a Christian-Muslim holy war, and apparently the Christians ("us") are being weakened by "political correctness." What a cliche.
posted by rxrfrx at 7:34 AM on May 16, 2006


And people laughed when I said Jon was a Lefty Rush.

What are you, retarded?

Back in the Clinton days I used to listen to Rush. There is very little similarity, other than 'political humorist'.
posted by sonofsamiam at 7:48 AM on May 16, 2006


driving down support for political institutions

I'd be willing to put down $100 that if the political institutions were doing things worth supporting, there would be no 'driving down' of said support.
posted by rough ashlar at 8:05 AM on May 16, 2006


And people laughed when I said Jon was a Lefty Rush.
posted by HTuttle at 2:54 AM PST on May 16


Rush:
Drug user who can't control his drug use
Thinks the users of the Internet are "Nimrods"

Are thoes the features that make him a 'righty'?

If you heard laughing when you said 'Jon was a Lefty Rush' - are you sure the laughter wasn't at the word "Rush"?
posted by rough ashlar at 8:15 AM on May 16, 2006


He's studying cynicism because, judging from the content of his web site, he is incredibly naive. How on earth did he get a degree in politics?
posted by solipse at 8:28 AM on May 16, 2006


In other news: FIRE HOT, SCISSORS SHARP.
posted by antifreez_ at 8:38 AM on May 16, 2006


Why is every one ripping on Rush for being a "drug user"? Jon Stewart makes pot smoking jokes on the show all the time, and starred in death to smoochy and half baked.

I'm just saying, you know, he makes a lot of pot jokes for someone who's not a "drug user".

And more to the point, Rush supposedly had some sort of back problem, causing chronic pain. In my mind a 'drug addict' must not have any medical condition necessitating taking the drugs. There are millions of Americans in pain every day because of the DEAs insane anti-opiod agenda, and Rush Limbaugh is one of them.
posted by delmoi at 8:40 AM on May 16, 2006


Probably because Rush wrote a book and says on his show that addicts are criminals and should be locked up?
posted by kableh at 8:56 AM on May 16, 2006


Why is every one ripping on Rush for being a "drug user"? Jon Stewart makes pot smoking jokes on the show all the time...

This cannot be an honest question. You are missing a piece of the puzzle, one that makes it impossible to compare Stewarts innocent herb innuendo with the psychotic hypocritical ravings of that goddamn lunatic doctor shopping pseudo-smack junkie, Rush Limbaugh. Go forth, fetch this knowledge and you will find your impulse to raise such rhetorical questions squelched.

There are millions of Americans in pain every day because of the DEAs insane anti-opiod agenda, and Rush Limbaugh is one of them.

Have you ever listened to the shit he says? Seriously. You sound very ill equipped to be entering such a conversation, considering the defensive tone that you have taken.
posted by prostyle at 8:56 AM on May 16, 2006


delmoi - did you read how many pain killers his maid scored him in a 47 day period?

the reason he gets flack is because he has been very vocal about what kind of trash abuse drugs - even specifically targeting white people who abuse drugs. He talked on and on about personal responsibility and will power....

....then couldn't kick his habit when it was endangering his hearing - something awfully important for a radio personality.

or to be more concise, because he's a fucking hypocrite.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 8:56 AM on May 16, 2006


There are millions of Americans in pain every day because of the DEAs insane anti-opiod agenda, and Rush Limbaugh is one of them.

This is absolutely true. It doesn't fully apply in Rush's case (the amount he built up to by most reports was well beyond pain relief/management dosages, though he appears to have started the drugs for valid reasons), but it is absolutely true.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 9:01 AM on May 16, 2006


Everybody rips on Rush for being a drug user because he is a fucking hippocrit. Rush certainly portrayed himself as supporting the "anti-opiod agenda" on his show.
posted by afu at 9:09 AM on May 16, 2006 [1 favorite]


In my mind a 'drug addict' must not have any medical condition necessitating taking the drugs.

Then you need to do some more research on addiction. Doesn't matter why you begin taking the drug in question, delmoi. Addiction can still occur whether you're legally entitled to take the drug or not.
posted by NationalKato at 9:10 AM on May 16, 2006


TDS isn't "soft news," and neither are Oprah or Leno. "Soft news" is about content -- e.g., "news you can use," etc. -- not source. I haven't had a chance to read the article yet, but the abstract has all the hallmarks of political scientists studying media without doing their homework first

(signed, a mass comm scholar who does his best to do all his homework before doing poli sci research.)
posted by aaronetc at 9:21 AM on May 16, 2006


"Most jokes from the Daily Show portray politicians negatively"

Most of the jokes are politically-based, but the humor is all from a parody of the media. The show is still everyone's darling because, with the exception of those Crossfire guys, no one in the media realizes who's truly brunt of the joke.
posted by klarck at 9:45 AM on May 16, 2006


What an embarrassment to ECU this study is. And to poli sci research.

Not really. I can only assume that you just don't have any idea how much it costs to run experiments like this, and how little funding is typically available for anything that's not the National Election Studies.

I'm not saying this is the best research ever -- if it were, it probably wouldn't be in APR -- but it's perfectly good normal-science work. It certainly seems pretty normal for experimental work, given the constraints that such work usually takes place under.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:48 AM on May 16, 2006


I don’t believe the authors of this understand what cynicism is.
Main Entry: cyn·i·cal
Pronunciation: 'si-ni-k&l
Function: adjective
1 : CAPTIOUS, PEEVISH
2 : having or showing the attitude or temper of a cynic : as a : contemptuously distrustful of human nature and motives b : based on or reflecting a belief that human conduct is motivated primarily by self-interest (a cynical ploy to cheat customers)

Or rather, they know exactly what it is and the assertion is that the only outcome of watching the Daily Show is an opinion - completely unfounded if I’m reading the tone right - that one knows what is going on and a pessimistic view of the entire political system.

Well, that’s complete shit, which I suppose makes Baumgartner and Morris assholes for delivering it.

It’s debatable whether Daily Show watchers are more informed, I’d argue they are. Whether the jokes are highbrow or lowbrow doesn’t matter - a fart joke (however farty) involving Harry Reid doesn’t work if you don’t know who Harry Reid is (oh, did YOU know he was minority leader in the senate?). And the polls back that up as well.

The assertion here is that Daily Show watchers’ cynicism = disbelief in the democratic process due to a base belief in the impossiblity of honesty in government.

That’s completely false and not only shows bias, but a lack of a sense of humor.
Daily Show watchers don’t laugh at the foibles of politicos because it’s all hopeless. Quite the contrary. They laugh at the revelation of hypocracy. There is no true humor in cynicism. Any laughs gained from a cynic outlook is a derisive Nelson Muntzesque point and “HA-Haa.”
Daily Show humor comes from honesty, not partisanship. Whatever else Stewart (and Colbert) are - whatever flaws they may have in execution or however they might mug (and I like Stewart for that even though it’s hammy, ‘cause he so obviously loves comedy that it overwhelms him at times - he’s as much an ear as he is a voice if you take my meaning)
...where was I?
Ah, whatever else they do, they act from honesty. That’s (Second City) comedy 101.
Any duplicity in their act and people would shut off the t.v.
That’s why it works. That’s why Stewart gets away with showing Rummy talking about WMDs and some other guy gets hauled off for it. The bald face lies by those in power are irritating, maddening, outrageous, and dangerous. And comments can be made that assert viewpoints or explicate the anatomy of the lies or divert or gloss it over or whatever. And those are good or bad or intelligent or dumb or whatever they are based on the perspectives of the party or qualities of the speaker or whatever.

But it’s funny ‘cause it’s true.

And that’s antithetical to cynicism. It’s at once hopeful and empowering to laugh that the emperor is naked.
‘Specially if he really is.

posted by Smedleyman at 10:08 AM on May 16, 2006 [2 favorites]


Thank you Smedleyman. I don't think anything more needs to be said after that.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 12:37 PM on May 16, 2006


In other news: FIRE HOT, SCISSORS SHARP.

I am glad this was said, however.

Also I would just like to express how awesome I think Smedleyman is. My favorite conservative.

Has anyone else seen the TDS after 9/11?
posted by spiderwire at 3:44 PM on May 16, 2006


er, by that I mean the first episode of the Daily Show to air after 9/11. it show's Stewart's cojones -- I would have quit my job rather than gone on a show in his shoes... but he pulled it off well.
posted by spiderwire at 3:46 PM on May 16, 2006


I watch the Daily Show quite a bit for someone without a TV. I'd probably vote for Jon Stewart if he ran for... well, anything.

JON STEWART 4 PREZ OR SENATOR OR HALL MONITOR OR... whatever.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 5:29 PM on May 16, 2006


I think I've read this before, somewhere.
posted by Effigy2000 at 7:46 PM on May 16, 2006


It certainly seems pretty normal for experimental work

One eight-minute clip? Really? Sorry, but I've worked in social science. This is a lame study.
posted by mediareport at 10:02 PM on May 16, 2006


Sorry, but I do work in political science. I assure you that a short presentation is a common experimental treatment, at least for first-stage low-funded projects. I would not be surprised to find that they've put in for better funding to do a more expansive set of experiments.

Would you care to indicate some experimental studies of news effects that were not "lame"?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:01 PM on May 16, 2006


Yeah, I saw the Daily Show after 9/11. I kept thinking how hackneyed and trite Stewart was being. I mean he was saying how he could see the statue of liberty over the rubble of the towers and got even cornier going on about how that’s what America stands for and such.
And he was tearing up and his voice got choked. And I was rolling my eyes because that’s the oldest one in the book.

What got me though was there was a big pause as though he was collecting himself through great emotion. I mean it really brought the show to a stop and ate up airtime with no payoff.

- And I realized that he wasn’t being disingenuous, he actually believed what he was saying and actually was feeling great emotion and he was almost losing it and was saying what he was saying poorly and with poor delivery because he was overwhelmed.

And that really resonated with me. Perhaps more than anyone else on t.v. did. Because the other stuff, the news and such, didn’t get though my “it’s on t.v. so it’s bullshit” filter. Not that any other person on t.v. was more or less for real, but their delivery was so practiced that they could channel the emotion into performance.

Stewart was a bartender and a stand up comedian. For all his success, he’s just this guy who made good in show business. And it shows - that he’s just glad to be there.
He may not be as skilled or ask the probing questions, maybe he can be lowbrow or too goofy, or just straight up not funny sometimes (I think he usually is funny), but he’s honest and tells it how he sees it. And maybe he sees it wrong, but he’s giving it straight.

I can’t help but like the guy. He’s not fronting for anything.
/As opposed to say, Clooney who got all sanctimonious on his ass at the academy awards.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:25 PM on May 17, 2006


/I also like what the Onion did with 9/11. Bruckheimer film? Brilliant.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:26 PM on May 17, 2006


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