Jon Stewart 'Enemy of Democracy?'

Here we go again. Another: Jon Stewart-promotes-apathy-and-cynicism-and-he's-a-potent-gateway-drug-to-not-voting column.

Richard Morin's page A02 sleeper in today's Washington Post centers on a recent study showing that Daily Show viewers are more cynical and have more negative perceptions of candidates than network news watchers. The title grabs the eye: "Jon Stewart: Enemy of Democracy?"

Could it be?

If you're a bleary-eyed writer for a paper with serious subscription woes, perhaps.

Morin's narrative goes like this: Daily Show watchers are more likely than CBS News watchers, according to a study, to have negative perceptions of candidates, less trust in our electoral system, and "more cynical views of the news media." Ergo: Watching the Daily Show is ruining our kids and our Democracy.

Call Brent Bozell and offer Daily Show viewers emergency subscriptions to the WaPo, stat.

But what if Richard Morin can't handle the truth? What if the truth is that it's actually the Truth that's undermining our Democracy and Stewart is only the messenger?

After all, studies show that "Daily Show viewers ages 18 to 29 scored higher than those who consumed any amount of network news, any amount of newspapers, or one to three days of cable news; young Daily Show viewers scored the same as young viewers who watched four or more days of cable news."

That would seem to indicate that being the most knowledgeable about said candidates would lead to cynicism and negativity.

Which would lead a competent columnist -- or an honest one -- to conclude that there's something wrong with the system, not the most accurate source for news on it.

And then there's the PIPA poll showing that those who watch cable and network news had numerous misperceptions about issues surrounding the Iraq War. While newspapers fared better than TV news, nearly half of their readers still believed, incorrectly, that the world was either evenly split or was in favor of going to war with Iraq.

Wanna bet Daily Show viewers knew the answer to that one?

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