Daily show requires knowledge, rather than generating it

May 8th, 2008 | by Andrew Ó Baoill |

When I’m talking with my students about their news diet, at least some – though not as many as you might think – will mention the Daily Show or similar satirical content. I’ve repeatedly commented that my sense is that the Daily Show doesn’t inform viewers about what’s happening in the world so much as play on their existing knowledge – that if you don’t know about a situation, or about the broader political context, going into a piece, you may find it funny (on the basis of funny voices or pop culture references) but you’re not going to come out knowing anything extra about the world.

Now a Pew report confirms my view: “In addition, The Daily Show not only assumes, but even requires, previous and significant knowledge of the news on the part of viewers if they want to get the joke.”

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.