Strange Bedfellows: How Late-Night Comedy Turns Democracy into a Joke PDF (Adobe DRM) download by Prof. Russell Peterson

Strange Bedfellows: How Late-Night Comedy Turns Democracy into a Joke

Rutgers University Press
Publication date: March 2008
ISBN: 9780813544762
Digital Book format: PDF (Adobe DRM)

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It is no coincidence that presidential candidates have been making it a point to add the late-night comedy circuit to the campaign trail in recent years. The 2000 race saw both Al Gore and George W. Bush reading their own Top Ten lists on The Late Show with David Letterman. In 2004, John Edwards actually announced his candidacy on Comedy Central⿿s Daily Show. Candidates for the 2008 presidential election began their late-night bookings almost as soon as they launched their campaigns. If, when they tune in to Jay or Dave during the election season, viewers are as apt to see John McCain or Hillary Clinton sitting next to the host as Ben Affleck or Jessica Simpson, it is because recent polls have consistently found that a significant number of Americans⿿and an even larger proportion of those under the age of thirty⿿get at least some of their ⿿news⿝ about politics and national affairs from comedy shows. While this trend toward ⿿infotainment⿝ strikes some observers as a debasement of our national discourse⿿the triumph of fluff over substance⿿the reality, according to Russell L. Peterson, is more complex. This programming is more than a mere replacement for traditional news outlets; it plays its own role in shaping public perception of government and the political process.
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