The Cycle

The Daily Show vs. traditional newscasts

Few fanatics of Comedy Central staple The Daily Show watched the program as much as researchers from the Project for Excellence in Journalism, who tuned in for all of 2007.

In addition to improving their political punch lines, researchers found that the show, in some ways, isn’t all that different from its straight-faced contemporaries. For instance, although the show devotes 8% of its content to segments about the media – double most newscasts – it spends about the same amount of time (47%) as the traditional newscasters “covering” Washington politics.

The show also balances its guests evenly between the two major political parties, but Republicans tend to be on the receiving end of jokes more often than Democrats, according to the organization. And while the show has an undeniable impact on its viewership, it is a comedy, after all, and the authors’ noted that tragedies such as the shootings at Virginia Tech and the Minneapolis bridge collapse were barely mentioned.

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