It’s hard for college students to submit papers about junk food, sex or beer, so if they’re interested in writing about topics that dovetail with their leisure pursuits, they have to cast a wider net. The Daily Show works nicely.
Comedy Central reports that it has been swarmed with requests from grad students doing master’s theses or doctoral dissertations on the importance of Jon Stewart and his crew.“I’ve had a dozen or two dozen requests,” says network spokesman Steve Albani.Generally, the inquiries are from students exploring The Daily Show as a political communications medium. One recent masters thesis is entitled, “The Daily Show Effect: Humor, News, Knowledge and Viewers.” The author, Georgetown University media studies candidate Rachel Joy Larris, conducted an audience survey to attempt to compare the political makeup of The Daily Show’s audience and the program’s guests.
“The reason why this show is important to study is the politicalization of what have traditionally been non-political forms, such as entertainment,” Larris tells B&C.Her report’s conclusion, after 151 pages: The Daily Show booking policy is fair and balanced even if its audience tilts left. Our conclusion: Academia takes all the fun out of The Daily Show.