Thursday, May 8, 2008

Jon Stewart: Journalist, Comedian, Both?

Ouch! In a Pew Research Center survey, Americans last year picked Jon Stewart – a comedian – as one of the journalists they most admired. He was tied in the rankings with real journalists and anchormen Brian Williams, Tom Brokaw and Dan Rather, and cable host Anderson Cooper. So it’s no surprise – or is it? – that Pew’s Project for Excellence in Journalism took time to study the content of Stewart’s “The Daily Show” to find out what’s up.

The show is very popular. According to Pew researchers, nearly as many people watch The Daily Show regularly – 16 percent – as watch Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor (17 percent) and more watch it than PBS’ NewsHour with Jim Lehrer (14 percent). Researchers looked at a year’s worth of content, all of 2007, and compared it to more traditional news media, examined its guest lineup and segments.

In results released today, they found – ta da! – that the show closely resembles a number of cable news shows as well as talk radio. The show blends fact and fantasy, makes heavy use of news footage and requires significant prior knowledge of news to get the jokes. Guests are pretty balanced politically but Republicans tend to get the brunt of the criticism. Ummmm. And?For more, go to


Disclosure said...

O'Reilly is a comedian also. Stewart is just better.