Jon Stewart, Enemy of Republicrats

The Daily Show news team

The Washington Post has a one-sided story on how The Daily Show supposedly makes their young audience less likely to vote due to cynicism about politicians and the media — Jon Stewart, Enemy of Democracy?:

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.

I have to disagree with them, as their conclusion is rather myopic in it’s exlusion of third parties like Libertarians and Greens. Saying that if someone don’t vote for Republicans or Democrats… they won’t vote at all is like saying if I don’t like Coke or Pepsi, I won’t drink anything at all. It’s a logical fallacy and a major flaw in their reasoning. But the conclusion aside, it’s a rather interesting peek into a growing base of disaffected young voters.

The sad thing is that Stewart and the gang don’t exactly give a lot of air-time to third party candidates (which considering their format of showing the truly bizarre stupidity of politicians, may actually be a blessing). It’s a shame, considering they could single-handedly bring fresh political views to the attention of voters who are having a difficult time holding their nose and voting for their favorite Republicrat.

Then again, with The Daily Show constantly showing the retarded maneuvers of Democrats and Republicans, maybe third party money is simply best spent buying commercials during the show?

Update: Jeff Jarvis also takes issue with the conclusion:

Oh, come on. Cynicism about politics is not Stewart’s fault. It’s politics’ fault. Let’s get our cause and effect straight, Profs.

Could it just be that the mainstream press protects the mainstream political structure and when Jon Stewart calls bullshit on both camps, he’s telling the truth that others dare not tell? And could it just be that he’s not making a joke of politics; politics already is a joke?

Stephen VanDyke

I've published HoT along with about 300+ friends since 2002. We're all Americans who are snarky and love our country. I'm a libertarian that registered Republican because I like to win elections. That's pretty much it.

27 Comments
  1. “Saying that if someone don’t vote for Republicans or Democrats”¦ they won’t vote at all is like saying if I don’t like Coke or Pepsi, I won’t drink anything at all. ”

    If you’re in the desert and all you have to drink are a poisoned can of Coke, a poisoned can of Pepsi or the option of dieing of thirst, one might just not drink anything at all. Not every election (in fact relatively few) have third party choices. Of course, this is due to restrictive ballot access law, but nonetheless.

  2. I have to agree with the washington post here. The vast majority of people see only two options in the polling booth, so if they don’t like either candidate they won’t vote at all.

    Even if these kids dont vote, Jon Stewart is doing a good job if he is placing blame on the MSM and the republicrats.

  3. Mike — I was wondering if someone would be me to the punch on that point.

    More and more I am convinced every day that Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are heroes of the *TRUE* American People — because they destroy the “cult of the Infallible State.”

    They even sneak in kernels of truth in there from time to time.

    ‘Course, neither show has ever been all that, well, complimentary to Libertarians on the air. I remember the “Guns for Tots” fiasco.

    Both are rather decidedly liberal in perspective, but their skepticism inherently makes them favorable to us. (For the simple reason that so much of what libertarian principles stand for is simply the *END OF STUPIDITY!*)

  4. If third parties routinely topped 5%, 8%, 10%, 15% of the vote in the majority of election then it would make sense to consider that point. But on average, unless you have a good third party candidate, the Republicans get 48%, the Democrats get 48%, and a handful of other candidates divide up the remaining 4%…

    Measuring the likelihood of a Daily Show voter to vote for a third party candidate would produce results that might say somethig like: DS viewers are 100% more likely to vote for another party’s candidate… 3%, up from 1.5% among the general population. Hard to make a meaningful conclusion from that.

    Now if there was a major third party (Perot-style) campaign going on nationally, you might be able to draw some numbers out of that. Like, DS viewers support X candidate at a rate of 25%, while he’s polling at only 15% nationally. Or whatever.

    Regardless, the study itself is junk. More holes than Swiss cheese and ultimatly it proves nothing at all.

  5. SVD HBH — I just shared that one with my coworkers.

    I am awestruck that I had to ask myself, “Is this for real?”

    THAT is satire! :)

  6. “Now if there was a major third party (Perot-style) campaign going on nationally…”

    I think the media loved Perot because he was so easy to paint as a buffoon. The one time I rooted for Al Gore was when he debated Perot about free trade. Perot’s agin’ it. Remember the “giant sucking sound”?

  7. First, Stewart et al are doing everyone a service by creating cynics. The fewer mindless zombies there are voting for the Demopublicans, the better for all of us.

    Second, third parties need to earn the respect of folks like Stewart before he’ll start including them in his satire in any positive way. It’s sad how poorly the Libs, Greens, Reforms, etc. generally present themselves during election season (yes, there are exceptions). Candidates like Chief Wana Dubie don’t exactly make me want to go to the voting booth either and, as a Libertarian, I’m just happy that Stewart didn’t bring him to the attention of his audience (although I might have missed it).

  8. “Then again, with The Daily Show constantly showing the retarded maneuvers of Democrats and Republicans, maybe third party money is simply best spent buying commercials during the show?”

    BINGO! THAT is how you get third-party candidates on the show. I could never figure out why the Badnarik campaign couldn’t figure that one out…

  9. Jason Crook: “If you’re in the desert and all you have to drink are a poisoned can of Coke, a poisoned can of Pepsi or the option of dieing of thirst, one might just not drink anything at all”

    Thsi is the reason that I firmly believe that there should be a “None of the Above” option on all ballots, and should any person on the ballot lose to “none of teh above” they should not be permited to run for teh office again that election.

  10. “BINGO! THAT is how you get third-party candidates on the show. I could never figure out why the Badnarik campaign couldn’t figure that one out”¦”

    Yes, Badnarik talked about wanting to appear on the Daily Show, but never did. Buying spots would have helped him with that.

    Also, the Daily Show has done segments that included libertarians. Remember the one with the guy from the New York LP giving out toy guns to kids in Harlem?

  11. “The Daily Show” has a long history of exposing “crackpots” of every political, religious, and social organization, I remember they used to do storied about UFOs and once they interviewed a man who declared his farm an independent country, but in all of this, I cannot remember their portreying to Libertarians in any particular light. Now, I know, and you know, we here in the party have some extremists, (Paulie for example?) and it makes me a bit nrevous that ew might end up with someone giving the ‘ol “deer in the headlights” look when asked about legalizing drugs and prostitution, I mean, I’ve seen John Stewart give some helatiously tough interviews. If the “Daily” is our parties best chance for the type of exposure we need, then we need to concentrate our efforts on perhaps “training” potential interviewees specifically as to “how to get on the daily show” and “how to look good on the daily show”
    hey, i wanted to do a mock funeral for old-school politics, maybe theyd cover that

  12. Aside from a lot of bankroll, what would be the biggest hurdle to getting a commercial spot aired in the middle of the daily show. There has to be an approval process as well no? Money notwithstanding, would this be a wise investment or could it be used better elsewhere?

  13. Money notwithstanding, would this be a wise investment or could it be used better elsewhere?

    I think for a Presidential campaign it is a great idea. It is also important to remember that no money spent on advertising will equal the amount of time a lot volunteers spend working on campaigns at the local level.

    Activism at local areas is what will bring out the vote.

  14. “hey, i wanted to do a mock funeral for old-school politics, maybe theyd cover that”

    If you make yourself look like a crackpot, I suppose you’d have a better chance.

  15. For small races, you can simply call the cable company and buy airtime from them for your market. You don’t have to call Comedy Central or some nonsense. Buying commercial time is trivial, it’s just a matter of picking the race and candidate to support (hint: Peirce for Ohio, hehe).

  16. I know I have to go to Libertarian HELL for this, but I was listening to the NPR program Fresh Air some weeks back and the host had a writer from Comedy Central on and he described himslef and others on the show as having libertarian beliefs, or something similar. Its been three or more weeks and I don’t recall the exact wording, but was a bit suprised to hear the word Libertarian being used to describe the show.
    M.W.

  17. Bill Maher calls himself a libertarian too (although he is anything but), and both Maher and Stewart have audiences that are predominately liberal.

  18. Jon Stewart, my hero. Kids, sit on your vote until you can stick up THEIR ass…

    -BM

  19. As far as buying advertising on the show, the way it works for Comedy Central wouldn’t facilitate that. You don’t buy advertising for particular shows or times, you simply buy it for the network and the advertising is aired pseudo-randomly. I believe it is like this for most basic cable channels.

  20. hmmm could be that we all realize that bipatisan politicsis limited and quite retarded instead? naaaaaaawww…

  21. “As far as buying advertising on the show, the way it works for Comedy Central wouldn’t facilitate that. You don’t buy advertising for particular shows or times, you simply buy it for the network and the advertising is aired pseudo-randomly. I believe it is like this for most basic cable channels.”

    Are you sure about that? It seems to me that there are a specific set of regular advertisers for certain Comedy Central shows. I think some advertisers wouldn’t touch Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert or South Park. Because they are offensive to some, I believe those shows probably make less money per viewer than similarly rated shows.

    I know there was LP cable TV ads for specific shows during the 2004 race and previously during the 2000 race.

    I think sometimes the media has to be bought. Maybe Michael should look into purchasing some print ads locally in some newspapers and maybe ads on local radio and local TV news programs.

  22. It depends a lot on who you’re buying the advertising from… or through. And of course, how much you’re spending.

    Buy TV is very similar to buying radio, which I’ve done some of. You can purchase a chunk of spots to air during a certain portion of the day at random times for cheaper than buying one or two ads to specifically air during a single program.

    You can also buy it locally (on local cable systems) or nationally.

    Having said all that, I’ve looked into buying TV but I’ve never actually done it. The only word of advice would be, for a substantial buy, to hire a professional who’s got his stuff together so you waste as little money as possible.