In this space, I try very hard not to be blatantly political. In Friday’s Washington Post, columnist Richard Morin’s Unconventional Wisdom claims that research shows that The Daily Show is bad for democracy. I’m re-reading it to try to find the clue that this guy can’t be serious. Nothing yet.
Yes, it’s true that we have buffoons running our country and running for office in general, but the researchers and this columnist miss the point of The Daily Show. Listen carefully – IT’S A PARODY OF THE NEWS! The problem is that the people who write and produce the news have become a self-parody. Look, Jon Stewart is a fake news anchor. The realism he injects is being critical and cynical of the way news is covered. How unappealing our politicians are is an after thought, almost a given. If the audience for Jon Stewart is not voting, it’s because they feel that they can’t make a good decision based on the “real” news and because the press are falling down on the job. Another problem with the study that Morin might have missed is that the students were likely already cynical. People are turning to Jon Stewart to laugh. Otherwise we would cry. Richard Morin is bad for democracy! OK, It’s NOT funny.
UPDATE: Here’s a link to the original research.