Preproposal Presentation Dn

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Preproposal Presentation Dn

  1. 1. Political Satire as a Response to Cultural and Audience Fragmentation: The Case of The Daily Show with John Stewart (TDS) Preliminary Proposal Presentation Dana Neacsu December 2009 Advisor Dr. John V. Pavlik
  2. 2. The Rise of Comic Narratives as TV News Conduits <ul><li>The popularity of political satire, including liberal political satire, is currently on the rise: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>CNN’s D L Hughley Breaks the News (defunct) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>NBC -SNL’s 30-min Weekly Update (erratic) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The causes of this phenomenon are certainly complex: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>questionable objectivity of the mainstream news (Downie & Schudson, 2009; Baym, 2010) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cultural fragmentation (Zizek, 2009) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Audience fragmentation (Jenkins) </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. The Rise of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart – TDS as a major source of political information <ul><li>TDS v. SNL </li></ul><ul><ul><li>SNL has never produced a “most trusted newscaster” as TDS has ( Time Magazine ) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>SNL was never a “political satire” show (Jones,2010) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>it parodied newscasters’ style for cultural ends ( and used satire for a small segment) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>unlike SNL, TDS has come of age within a suffocating tabloid environment where “fake news” is a “breath of fresh air” (Colletta, 2009). </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Literature Review: Summary <ul><li>Critics and scholars credit TDS with revolutionizing journalism. </li></ul><ul><li>The gist of their argument is that TDS is both informative and critical of the mainstream media and in the process it encourages and develops in its audience critical thinking about political issues and implicitly political activity. </li></ul><ul><li>Without notable exceptions, scholars view TDS’s diverse comedic narrative as the source of both its virtues and weaknesses. </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>most credit it for TDS’s journalistic attributes and informative effects. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>A minority sees the data as too inconclusive to concede this informative role . </li></ul></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Literature Review: 1. TDS’s comedic narrative promotes critical thinking and political activism. <ul><li>Many scholars credit TDS’s comedic narrative with adding “more intelligent, complex, and provocative analyses to the political landscape” (Gray, Jones & Thompson, 2009, p. 32). </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Baym, 2005, 2010: TDS alternative journalism,” because it uses satire to interrogate power, parody to critique contemporary news, and dialogue to enact a model of deliberative democracy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Warner, 2007 “ cultural jamming ” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Jones, 2005, 2010: alternative journalism </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Day, 2009; Morreale, 2009: TDS encourages critical thinking </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Colleta, 2009: critical thinking and a shift in citizen activism? </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Literature Review: 2. TDS’s comedic narrative promotes its truth-telling critical function <ul><li>Torosyan, Dempsey, Blessing, Marren and Sneddon have argued that TDS is a source of political news, despite TDS’s use of what Harry Frankfurt calls “bullshit” (2005). </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Stewart: You say that bullshit is not lying. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Farnkfurt: No, it’s not lying. Lying consists in believing that you know the truth, and saying something else. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stewart: It’s wilfull. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Frankfurt: It’s willful. And the bullshitter doesn’t really care whether what he says is true or false. [audience laughter] </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Does TDS engage in bullshit? </li></ul><ul><li>Yes. But, according to Sneddon (2007), of “a superior type,” because TDS does offer both political information and political commentary not available on other channels. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Literature Review: 3. Empirical data supports the view that TDS encourages critical thinking and political activism (voting) <ul><li>Young and Tisinger (2006): TDS was a “program designed to entertain but that functions predominantly as a political program.” </li></ul><ul><li>Baym (2005, 2010): TDS is an informative examination of politics and media practices, as well as a forum for the discussion of substantive public affairs (taking aim at Prior’s data interpreted to the contrary) </li></ul><ul><li>Baym, Warner, Peterson, Fox, Dorman, Young, Jones: agree that data support the view TDS is a source of political news which encourages critical thinking. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Literature Review: 4. Insufficient reliable data to support the claim that TDS encourages either critical thinking or political activism. <ul><li>Baumgartner & Morris (2006): TDS should be viewed simply as a “fake news” program and nothing more.” </li></ul><ul><li>Pavlik (2008): TDS is a fake news program </li></ul><ul><li>Prior (2003) investigated soft news and its audience effect. He argued that soft news had a minor cognitive effect on its audience, and that this reduced effect was further limited by its smaller audience. </li></ul><ul><li>Prior (2007) : all the existing data point out that viewers of late-night comedy, which include TDS, also report frequent exposure to traditional television news programs, so the informative role of TDS is unclear, in light of the fact that TDS is never the sole source of political information. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Literature Review: Satire and the Audience’s Meaning Making Participation <ul><li>Mark Andrejevik’s penchant for deflating linguistic euphoria: iSpy (2007). </li></ul><ul><ul><li>TDS is acclaimed as the political news show for savvy, college educated, youth, who value intellectual flattery. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Todd Gitlin observed, savviness flatters spectators (1990). </li></ul><ul><ul><li>TDS brings with it a badge of what Mark Andrejevic described as “not being taken in by the machinations of the culture industry” (2007, 155). </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Jack Bratich’s ontological approach to audiences: audiences as sites of power (2008) </li></ul>
  10. 10. Excursus, The Rationale and Argument of the Project: TDS Generates a Pre-Established Reading <ul><li>TDS’s comedic narrative, the tool which attracts and entertains its audience, by its very own nature, is also the tool that dictates the way in which the jokes and political commentary can be understood </li></ul><ul><li>TDS enables three type of readings: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>opposite of what Stewart says (irony) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>a funny critique of the state of things—usually government affairs, and sometimes media affairs-- from Stewart’s ideological and moral perspective (satire) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Absurd or vulgar humor. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>In a reversal of fortunes, the satirist’s double talk has become the straight forward talk, similar to mainstream news shows criticized for imposing a single “expert” point of view. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>All political satire is double talk to the neophyte’s ear. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The satirist’s message is not what you hear, it is what you decode. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Satire is only meant for those who can decode it. It means what it implies. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>But what it implies is always clear to its intended audience: due to the ideological and cultural bond that exists between the satirist and the audience. </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Definitions and Conceptual Framework -Comedy <ul><li>TDS engages in a variety of comedic discourse (Purdie, 1993): </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Parody: is the transformation of a text with the intention to mock an existing (serious) text (Jardon, 1994). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Satire: is a tool of criticism, or “militant irony” (Frye, 1975). “Two things are essential to satire; one is wit or humor founded on fantasy or a sense of the grotesque or absurd, the other is an object of attack. Attack without humor, or pure denunciation, forms one of the boundaries of satire” (Id, 224). ( Griffin; Jardon) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Humor: suggests something different than what is being said (Jardon). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Irony: is usually used to say the opposite of what you mean, underlining that contrary meaning. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rorty pointed out, irony personalizes issues and makes the political context more easily understandable while diminishing it impact. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Purdie: comedic discourse relies on a well structured reading which bolsters conventionally sanctioned social hierarchies. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Definitions and Conceptual Framework -Ideology <ul><li>TDS’s reading dictated by the ideological bond between Stewart and his audience: </li></ul><ul><li>Ideology= a subjective representation of reality colored by the subject’s political and cultural identity. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Zizeck (1989) and Dean (2006): the ideological interplay reason for audience’s TV loyalty . </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ross & York (2007): TDS displays “patriotic” ideology which dictates the limits of its subversiveness. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>LaMarre, Landreville, & Beam (2009): the ideological connection between the TV host and his audience is crucial in the meaning-making process late-night political comedy enables. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>BUT “Stewart aids viewer interpretation by offering himself as an unambiguous source and providing external cues” (LaMarre et al.) </li></ul></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Research Objectives <ul><li>Show that TDS, because of the comedic narrative described above and the constraints essential to that narrative, contributes little to critical thinking, and thus to political activism; </li></ul><ul><li>Show that TDS, because of those constraints, represents simply another orthodoxy, rather than a critique of orthodoxies in general. </li></ul><ul><li>Show that for a loyal audience that thrives on a personal relationship with the satirist, it is likely that the suggested reading becomes the only possible reading. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Methodology: Multiple Methods (Pavlik & Szántó 1994) <ul><li>Data collection </li></ul><ul><ul><li>TDS Episodes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Media response to TDS episodes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ethnographic observations of online official fan site </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Focus Groups </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Interviews with members of the live audience </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Data analysis <ul><li>Content analysis </li></ul><ul><li>Interpretive textual analysis </li></ul><ul><li>Ideological analysis </li></ul><ul><li>Discourse analysis </li></ul>
  16. 16. References <ul><li>Andrejevic, Mark. 2007. iSpy. Surveillance and Power in the Interactive Era. Lawrence, KA: University Press of Kansas. </li></ul><ul><li>Baumgartner Jody and Jonathan S Morris. 2006. “The Daily Show Effect - Candidate Evaluations, Efficacy, and American youth.” American Politics Research 34(3): 341-367. </li></ul><ul><li>Baym, Geoffrey. 2005. “The Daily Show: Discursive Integration and the Reinvention of Political Journalism.” Political Communication 22(3): 259-276. </li></ul><ul><li>Baym, Geoffrey. 2010. From Cronkite to Colbert: the Evolution of Broadcast News </li></ul><ul><li>Bratich, Jack. 2008. Activating the multitude: Audience powers and cultural studies. in New Directions in American Reception Study . (eds. Paul Goldstein and J.L. Machor), 33-55. Oxford: Oxford University Press. </li></ul><ul><li>Colletta, Lisa. 2009. &quot;Political Satire and Postmodern Irony in the Age of Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart&quot; Journal of Popular Culture . 42(5): 856-74. </li></ul><ul><li>Day, Amber. 2009. “Mimesis and the Real in the Real in The Daily Show.” in Satire TV: Politics and Comedy in the Post-Network Era (eds. Jonathan Gray, Jeffrey Jones, and Ethan Thompson) 85-104 New York: New York University Press. </li></ul><ul><li>Dean, Jodi. 2006. Žižek’s Politics. New York: Routledge. </li></ul><ul><li>Downie, Leonard Jr. and Michael Schudson. 2009. “The Reconstruction of American Journalism Report.” Columbia Journalism Review available at http://www.cjr.org/reconstruction/the_reconstruction_of_american.php . </li></ul><ul><li>Erion, Gerald. 2007. “Amusing Ourselves to Death with Television News: Jon Stewart, Neil Postman, and the Huxleyan Warning.” in The Daily Show and Philosophy. Moments of Zen in the Art of Fake News (ed. Jason Holt). 5-16. Malden. MA: Blackwell Publishing. </li></ul><ul><li>Frankfurt, Harry. 2005. On Bullshit . Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press. </li></ul><ul><li>Frye, N. (1973). Anatomy of Criticism; Four Essays . Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. </li></ul><ul><li>Griffin, D. H. (1994). Satire: A Critical Reintroduction . Lexington, KY: The University Press of Kentucky </li></ul><ul><li>Gittlin, Tod. 1990. “Blips, Bites and Savvy Talk: Television’s Impact on American Politics.” Dissent , 37: 18–26. </li></ul>
  17. 17. References (Cont.) <ul><li>Gray, Jonathan, Jeffrey Jones, and Ethan Thompson. “The State of Satire the Satire of State.” in Satire TV: Politics and Comedy in the Post-Network Era (eds. Jonathan Gray, Jeffrey Jones, and Ethan Thompson). 3-37. New York: New York University Press. </li></ul><ul><li>Jardon, D. 1994. Du Comique dans le Texte Litteraire. De Boeck. </li></ul><ul><li>Jenkins, Henry. 2006. Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide. </li></ul><ul><li>New York: New York University Press. </li></ul><ul><li>Jones, Jeffrey P. 2005, 2010. Entertaining Politics. New Political Television and Civic Culture. Rowan and Littlefield Publishers, Inc. </li></ul><ul><li>LaMarre, Heather L., Landreville, Kristen D. and Beam,Michael A. 2009. “The Irony of Satire. Political Ideology and the Motivation to See What You Want to See in The Colbert Report.” The International Journal of Press/Politics. 14(2): 212-231. </li></ul><ul><li>Morreale, Joanne. “Jon Stewart and The Daily Show: I Thought You Were Going to Be Funny.” in Satire TV: Politics and Comedy in the Post-Network Era (eds. Jonathan Gray, Jeffrey Jones, and Ethan Thompson) 104-124. New York: New York University Press. </li></ul><ul><li>Pavlik, John, V. 2008. Media in the Digital Age. New York, NY: Columbia UP. </li></ul><ul><li>Pavlik, John, V. and András Szántó. 1994. Multiple-method Research: The Case of the 1992 </li></ul><ul><li>Presidential Campaign. New York, N.Y. : Freedom Forum Media Studies Center. </li></ul><ul><li>Prior, Markus. 2003. “Any Good News in Soft News? The Impact of Soft News Preference on Political Knowledge.” Political Communication 20(2): 149-171. </li></ul><ul><li>Purdie, Susan. 1993. Comedy: The Mastery of Discourse. Brighton: Harvester Wheats. </li></ul><ul><li>Ross, Michael L. and Lorraine York. 2007. “’First, They’re Foreigners:’ The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and the Limits of Dissident Laughter” in Canadian Review of American Studies/Revue canadienne d’études américaines 37(3): 351-370. </li></ul><ul><li>Sneddon, Andrew. 2007. “Bullshitting Bulshitters and the Bulshitt They Say.” in The Daily Show and Philosophy. Moments of Zen in the Art of Fake News (ed. Jason Holt). 146-159. Malden. MA: Blackwell Publishing. </li></ul><ul><li>Warner, Jamie. 2007. “Political Culture Jamming: The Dissident Humor of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.” Popular Communication, 5(1): 17-36. </li></ul><ul><li>Young, D. G. & Tisinger, R.. 2006. Dispelling late-night myths: News consumption among late-night comedy viewers and the predictors of exposure to various late-night shows, International Journal of Press/Politics, 11, 113-134. </li></ul><ul><li>Zizeck, Slavoj. 2009. First As Tragedy, Then As Farce. New York, NY: Verso. </li></ul>
  18. 18. <ul><li>Thank you! </li></ul><ul><li>Questions? </li></ul>
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