The Business Journal has printed proof of what most of us suspected, and what Jon Stewart dreads hearing: The Daily Show's listeners are far more politically savvy than those who follow more conventional news outlets. Stewart always has this "But we're a comedy show" defense whenever someone tries to point this out. Yes, Jon, you are a comedian, as is all your co-workers on the show. But if you know anything about the history of humor, you'd know that the most profound truths are often cloaked by yuks and grins. It's how most of us can endure the profound truths.
The Business Journal article also points out that The Daily Show's viewers tend to be more liberal. That's painfully obvious, but it needed to be pointed out. For instance, when John Kerry walked out on the set of the show, I was surprised nobody threw panties. (Shhhhhhhh, Wonkette, I know you really want to, you can't deny your lust for long faces and lugubrious speeches much longer!) When Richard Clarke came back for an encore interview, the audience thundered--Clarke isn't a liberal, but his courage and honesty is greatly admired in liberal circles. Then last night, David Duke was on the show, and the tepid applause was thicker than Duke's bullshit. Yeah, that thick.
I also remember when Peter Jennings came onto The Daily Show, and jokingly said that they did "good work--sometimes". And yet, in the face of Dubya's not-so-subtle manipulation of the media, it would seem that The Daily Show remains a bastion of spin-proofed integrity and honesty that would be devastating if not for the jokes. But therein lies the crux--why is there so damned few venues that refuse the spin and the jokes? Are we so desperate for escape that we cannot endure the truth without a varnish of humor? Is it the media that's become too chicken-shit... or is it us?
I'd answer that question, but I'm having a hard time coming up with an adequate punch-line. The truth hurts, don't it?