A Republican goes on the tail of a friend’s ancestor, arguing against immigration

Try and eat these. I dare you.

When we let the television make our arguments, disaster ensues.

This anecdote is being published without the knowledge of the person to whom I interacted with. As such, her name, and any attributing information will be withheld.

So I’m sitting down in a New England hotel bar, excited that I finally found some time to take advantage of the restaurant’s Happy Hour. I order an appetizer and a cold stout confident that my bank account will be both happy with the fact that the drink hadn’t cost more than a whole case’s worth at Costco, and that I am collecting precious points, damn it. The appetizer, as a side, happens to be grilled artichoke hearts, which, it turns out, are ridiculously hard to eat but nonetheless delicious. More on this later. Read more

Impact of Late Night T.V. IV

Give me truth. Freedom will follow.

A 2004 study by Jonathan S. Morris captures the essence of Jon Stewart:

“[e]ven if The Daily Show is not purposefully attempting to influence viewers, it is the nature of the message (self-effacing humor) that gives it persuasive power” (R. Fox, Koloen, and Sahin 213-227).

Another 2006 study also added

“increased cynicism associated with decreased external efficacy may contribute to an actively critical orientation toward politics. This may translate into better citizenship, because a little skepticism toward the political system could be considered healthy for democracy”(Baumgartner, and S. Morris 341-365).

One need not look far to find examples of this on the show. While there are many light-hearted interviews with personalities that are not part of the daily news, Jon Stewart manages to spend time with many policy makers and politicians as well. And although humour is never far, substance seems to have a prolific front seat. On September 21, 2011, Jon Stewart interviewed the former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm. Below is an excerpt from the exchange, transcribed: Read more

Impact of Late Night T.V. III

Serious News vs. Satiric News: Fight!

Throughout the reference material that study different attributes of The Daily Show on the electorate, some, in the opinion of the author, propose and test hypothesis that do not study the full impact of Jon Stewart’s work. This of course, is by no means a critique of the methods done by the peer-reviewed research presented to the author. Rather, it is a proposition for a different outlook in examining questions such as “whether there will be more substance in the broadcast television networks coverage or in The Daily Show with Jon Stewart’s coverage.” In a 2004 study, a series of mixed samples were used by “all newscasts from ABC’s World News Tonight with Peter Jennings, CBS’s Evening News with Dan Rather, and NBC’s The Nightly News with Tom Brokaw and all The Daily Show with Jon Stewart programs that covered the [2004 presidential conventions]” (R. Fox, Koloen, and Sahin 213-227). The study goes on to present statistically significant evidence done by various polling and surveys that conclude both network news and The Daily Show contained more humour than substance. In a 2006 study by Jody Baumgartner and Jonathan S. Morris, 4 hypotheses were presented, two of which stand out. In the case of “[y]oung viewers’ evaluations of presidential candidates will become more negative with exposure to campaign coverage on The Daily Show” the study found statistically significant results supporting the claim. The same results were obtained on another hypothesis: Read more

Impact of Late Night T.V. II

Both Fair and Balanced.

WHILE it is one thing to go to such websites as ThinkProgress, MediaMatters, Politifact and others to become informed (for better or for worse) it is a whole another experience to be exposed to politics on late night television. The former assumes one of possessing a keen sense of curiosity about government and policy, not to mention an accommodating schedule; one in which a blue collar lower-middle-class American might not find him or herself possessing. The latter is more of a passive, broad-stroked brush to politics. After a hard day’s work, it is easy to sit down to the TV, as most of us do during the late hours of the evening and watch a clip of Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts and former current GOP nominee for the 2012 Presidential Election, say he is in favour of abortion rights in 2002 and another clip of him be against it in 2011 (“Indecision 2012 – The Great Right Hope”). The incongruous, but all the same playful way in which this flip-flop is presented is not far from the short catchphrases mentioned in the former paragraph, but with one major difference: in the face of visual ‘evidence’ it becomes much easier to sway opinions and have an impact on those for whom politics remains irrelevant and out of touch. A study done by Xiaoxia Cao on the such impacts on public attentiveness found that The Daily Show can Read more

Impact of Late Night T.V. I

Everything Good Happens Here, Including Political Analysis

THE voice of the citizenry has been fading, a trend that has been a long time in the making. Not all of it is of nefarious purposes of course: population growth, the retirement of baby boomers en-mass, and inefficient bureaucratic institutions responsible for huge undertakings have resulted in a broken system. Not to mention a whole new entity to the electorate: “…corporations [as] people” (Millhiser), has lent a new meaning to vox populi vox dei . One citizen, one vote is the mantra of every true democracy. From the infancy of ancient Greece, where “Athens had became a city in which any citizen, no matter how poor or uneducated, was guaranteed freedom of speech, in which policy was no longer debated in the closed and gilded salons of the aristocracy, but openly, in the Assembly; in which no measure could be adopted, no law passed, save by the votes of all the Athenian people” (Holland 165) …To the modern halls of congress where the interests of the officials lie not in the collective needs of their electorate, but to the lucrative occupation of being a career-politician. Amidst the turmoil for power, journalism in all its mediums is the one fickle line of defence between democracy, and absolution. It is the muscle that moves the vocal cords of the citizenry; and it is under attack. Read more