The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Friday, June 30, 2006

More catty nonsense from TNR

Looks like it's going to be a slow news day, with the holiday weekend and all. And I'm pretty tired of writing about self-righteous posts from The New Republic that also happen to be poorly written and inaccurate.

However, in taking yet another swipe at the blogs Lee Siegel (On Culture!) uses more hyperbolic language and comes up with an absurd conclusion: "The Daily Show is destroying American democracy." But wait! Siegel didn't say that-- the Washington Post said it!

But the Post didn't say that. Neither did the study they were writing about. Siegel's assertion is that the article claimed that The Daily Show's effect has been to reduce young voter turnout. But the article only suggested that as a potential result of Daily Show viewing. And turnout among young voters was up in 2004 by about 10%.

The authors of the study were actually quite measured in assessing the implication of watching the likes of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert:

Citizens who understand politics are more likely to participate than those who do not. Moreover, the increased cynicism associated with decreased external efficacy may contribute to an actively critical orientation toward politics. This may translate into better citizenship, because a little skepticism toward the political system could be considered healthy for democracy. However, decreased external efficacy may dampen participation among an already cynical audience (young adults) by contributing to a sense of alienation from the political process. And it has been demonstrated that lowered trust can perpetuate a more dysfunctional political system.

It's time for TNR's stable of writers to take a long, hard look at their insistence that the magazine is the only thing protecting the nation from fact-challenged, angry, "fascist" bloggers. Because they've proven to be masters of going off half-cocked and writing fact-challenged, angry posts on their own blog.