So, I have a new favorite TV show. The Daily Show. It's a news show (kind of) that specializes in making fun of politicians and the media. Recently, the show has come under attack by major newspapers. "Is Jon Stewart a threat?" the headlines read. Evidence shows that those who watch the show tend to be more cynical towards both the Republican and the Democrat parties. The newspaper then claims that because those who watch The Daily Show are more cynical towards American politics, they tend to vote less. No evidence for this last claim is offered. I can think of four reasons for this lack of evidence. First, they did some sort of survey, found that those who watch the show are actually more likely to vote, and so suppressed the information. Second, that they didn't do a survey because they were afraid of what the actual results would be. Third, that they were too stupid to realize that evidence is necessary to make an actual case. Fourth, that they figured their average reader was gullible enough to believe whatever they printed. In any case, we're talking either corrupt or stupid.
A quiz survey done during the last presidential election showed that those who watched the Daily Show knew more about issues of the election than those who watched major news programs or read the newspaper (see CNN.com for more info). Why? Because The Daily Show actually talks about important topics. They don't spend hours upon hours talking about a single missing person when people go missing every day. They don't spend eternity talking about a rape case, about celebrity crap, etc. Not that some of this stuff isn't important--but the Daily Show would rather focus on stupid politicians than celebrities. The important issues are discussed. The issues important only at a local level are left alone (unless politics is involved).
Personally, I think mainstream media is getting tired of the well-deserved attacks The Daily Show keeps pulling on them. There's the threat. That, and The Daily Show is directly competing against other supposedly more credible news sources. Truth is, and I realize this is entirely anecdotal, I've been watching The Daily Show for about a month. I've been registered to vote for eight years...and I voted for the very first time last week. I believe part of my reason for voting was The Daily Show.
I challenge news media to actually do a study on how The Daily Show affects voting. Meanwhile, I'll continue to watch it so that I can learn, laugh, and make fun of stupid and corrupt politicians and media. Long live The Daily Show.