‘The Daily Show’ fans lead a liberal revolution
While journalists may be expected to report current events without a personal bias, the most popular news shows on television are designed to give their audience news updates from a specific point of view. Many Americans align their views with one of two extremes, conservative or liberal, which influence their decisions when selecting credible news sources.
Two programs representing these extremes are Jon Stewart’s ‘The Daily Show’ on the Comedy Central Network and Bill O’Reilly’s ‘The O’Reilly Factor” on Fox. Stewart and O’Reilly butt heads on nearly every divisive political issue, with Stewart’s liberal humor sharply contrasting O’Reilly’s straight-edge conservatism. These shows discuss the same issues, but from two opposite positions, creating one of the most talked-about rivalries in TV journalism.
O’Reilly said Stewart’s viewers consist of ‘stoned slackers’ and ‘dopey kids’ when the comedian appeared on ‘The O’Reilly Factor’ during the 2004 presidential race.
‘I mean, you’ve got stoned slackers watching your dopey show every night, OK, and they can vote,’ O’Reilly snapped at Stewart for swaying young Americans with his anti-Bush agenda. ‘And 87 percent of them are intoxicated when they watch.’
Despite these harsh allegations, the 2004 Nielson Media Research statistics published by CNN revealed that O’Reilly’s alleged facts demeaning Stewart’s young audience couldn’t be farther from the truth.
”Daily Show’ viewers are 78 percent more likely than the average adult to have four or more years of college education,’ Bryan Long reported on CNN.com. ‘O’Reilly’s audience is only 24 percent more likely to have that much schooling.’
Despite criticisms about the intelligence of his audience, Stewart has gained an audience that has become as influential on U.S. politics as O’Reilly’s conservative followers. This was evident in the November midterm elections during which youth voter turnout increased by two million people since the last election.
By appealing to their interests with humor and entertainment, Stewart has educated a generation of young Americans that are harshly criticized as being apathetic and lazy when it comes to politics. Unlike the straight-line style of most television news anchors, Stewart knows how to relate to college-aged viewers.
The response to the success of ‘The Daily Show’ is overwhelmingly evident on college campuses around the nation where students’ political consciousness is being raised significantly. Many students are becoming increasingly fluent in political issues in order to fully enjoy Stewart’s jokes on the show.
Not only are shows like ‘The Daily Show’ providing students with relevant knowledge of current events, they are inspiring a generation to rebel against criticisms calling them uninformed and disinterested in contemporary political issues. As it turns out, ‘The Daily Show’ audience is proving knowledgeable about more than weed and beer. Apparently this generation of ‘stoned slackers’ that laughs at beer jokes and can’t stomach conservative news is proving to be as politically savvy as its right-wing critics.
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