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?