Does anybody really find the results of this study surprising? I haven’t relied on network news for anything since finding the internets.
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Which would you think has more substantive news coverage — traditional broadcast network newscasts or The Daily Show with Jon Stewart?
Would you believe the answer is neither?
Julia R. Fox, assistant professor of telecommunications at Indiana University isn’t joking when she says the popular “fake news” program, which last week featured Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf as a guest, is just as substantive as network coverage.
While much has been written in the media about The Daily Show’s impact, Fox’s study is the first scholarly effort to systematically examine how the comedy program compares to traditional television news as sources of political information.
The study, “No Joke: A Comparison of Substance in The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and Broadcast Network Television Coverage of the 2004 Presidential Election Campaign,” will be published next summer by the Journal of Broadcast and Electronic Media, published by the Broadcast Education Association.
“It is clearly a humor show, first and foremost,” Fox said of Stewart’s program. “But there is some substance on there, and in some cases, like John Edwards announcing his candidacy, the news is made on the show. You have real newsmakers coming on, and yes, sometimes the banter and questions get a little silly, but there is also substantive dialogue going on â€¦ It’s a legitimate source of news.”