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Measuring the "Colbert Bump" 674

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the wish-i-had-a-bump dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Democratic politicians receive a 40% increase in contributions in the 30 days after appearing on the comedy cable show The Colbert Report. In contrast, their Republican counterparts essentially gain nothing. Moreover, even a cursory analysis demonstrates that despite being a comedy program The Colbert Report appears to exercise 'disproportionate real world influence' — likely due to the 'elite demographic' of its audience." In my home we refer to Stephen as "Loud Daddy" because my child would scream bloody murder when we paused him (and only him) on screen. Even at 8 months old the kid has strange taste.
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Measuring the "Colbert Bump"

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  • Colbert (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 14, 2008 @09:32AM (#24598143)
    For president!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Freeside1 (1140901)
      Yes, because celebrities-turned-politicians have such a great track record
      • Re:Colbert (Score:5, Insightful)

        by njfuzzy (734116) <ian@nOspAm.ian-x.com> on Thursday August 14, 2008 @10:32AM (#24599017) Homepage
        Yeah, all those failures like President Ronald Reagan, Senator Fred Thompson, Ambassador Shirley (Temple) Black, Congressman "Sonny" Bono, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Mayor Clint Eastwood... I don't agree with their politics, but it's hard to say they were all bad or completely unsuccessful.
        • Re:Colbert (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Rude Turnip (49495) <valuation@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Thursday August 14, 2008 @10:42AM (#24599201)

          Mayor is fine...the splatter damage area is greatly reduced to maybe no more than the tri-county area. Regan fscked us with onerous debt and Sonny Bono gave us unconstitutionally long copyright terms.

          • Re:Colbert (Score:5, Funny)

            by WeeLad (588414) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @11:07AM (#24599571) Journal

            Mayor is fine...the splatter damage area is greatly reduced to maybe no more than the tri-county area. Regan fscked us with onerous debt and Sonny Bono gave us unconstitutionally long copyright terms.

            Using "splatter" and "Sonny Bono" in the same post... I laughed quietly to myself and felt horrible about it.

        • Re:Colbert (Score:5, Interesting)

          by k1e0x (1040314) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @02:29PM (#24602967) Homepage

          "Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem."
          --Ronald Reagan

          Reagan has all these great libertarian quotes.. but he shrunk the size of government NOT AT ALL. Even if he really believed what he was talking bout, he didn't really fix any problems. (No Reagan did not kill communism, its a popular myth but it was the unworkable system of communism that killed communism.)

          They say the power of the state changes people.. I seen a cartoonist liken it to The One Ring from Lord of the Rings.. as to say those who get power are unable to destroy that power.

          The cartoon is here. http://anarchyinyourhead.com/2007/12/14/no-more-kings/ [anarchyinyourhead.com]

      • Re:Colbert (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 14, 2008 @11:08AM (#24599581)

        I would rather vote to Stephen Colbert and John Stewart than either Barack or McCain. At least they are honest and actually answer questions and don't try to play the people. I would definitely trust them in the position of power over the choices we have now. Which is actually kinda sad that politicians have disappointed us that much.

        • Re:Colbert (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @11:57AM (#24600427)

          Colbert asked Kevin Costner if he would run for office and Costner laughed and said something like, 'No... I've lead a colorful life."

          I think that would probably be the issue with *most* people like Colbert and John Stewart. The facts of Bush's "colorful" youth were largely ignored when he was running for election. I couldn't believe he got away with "I haven't used cocaine since January of 1987." but more power to him since i think cocaine and pot should be legal. I'd never do cocaine-- taking something that has a 1/100,000 chance of killing you the first time you use it isn't my thing. But wise men throughout history have altered their conciousness. And suddenly we disallow it and insist that only the most prissy, straight-laced people who don't even match 90% of the population in actual behavior should be our political leaders. Basically-- PRIESTS should be our leaders. The kings and lords and barons of industry had strong passions and lead bold lives and it gave them the strength of character needed to truly do the right thing.

          Perhaps it is time to stop throwing away good leaders because they lead "colorful" lives and aren't priests. I imagine most leaders throughout history were alpha males and lead colorful lives filled with fighting, boozing, womanizing, and drinking. Since our memory is now much longer and much more through, it may be time to adjust the rules to the new "no privacy" reality.

          • Re:Colbert (Score:5, Insightful)

            by sorak (246725) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @01:03PM (#24601525)

            Colbert asked Kevin Costner if he would run for office and Costner laughed and said something like, 'No... I've lead a colorful life."

            I think that would probably be the issue with *most* people like Colbert and John Stewart. The facts of Bush's "colorful" youth were largely ignored when he was running for election. I couldn't believe he got away with "I haven't used cocaine since January of 1987." but more power to him since i think cocaine and pot should be legal.

            It's unfortunate, however, that our status quo is one which makes a large portion of our culture into criminals, and then, they can get elected to office, so long as they claim that's how it should be.

            I'd never do cocaine-- taking something that has a 1/100,000 chance of killing you the first time you use it isn't my thing. But wise men throughout history have altered their conciousness. And suddenly we disallow it and insist that only the most prissy, straight-laced people who don't even match 90% of the population in actual behavior should be our political leaders. Basically-- PRIESTS should be our leaders. The kings and lords and barons of industry had strong passions and lead bold lives and it gave them the strength of character needed to truly do the right thing.

            Umm...Priests have gotten away with things no politician could ever be forgiven for. Make no doubt about it, our politicians have to live up to a much higher standard than our clergy.

    • Re:Colbert (Score:5, Funny)

      by Churla (936633) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @11:03AM (#24599513)

      I will wholeheartedly throw my support behind this as long as he picks Lewis Black as his VP.

      The mental image of Lewis Black presiding over Senate proceedings would make it worth the vote right there.

      • Re:Colbert (Score:5, Funny)

        by Convector (897502) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @01:30PM (#24601945)
        No, the only person qualfied to be Colbert's VP is his debate partner from "Formidable Opponent".
  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Thursday August 14, 2008 @09:35AM (#24598177) Journal

    Moreover, even a cursory analysis demonstrates that despite being a comedy program The Colbert Report appears to exercise "disproportionate real world influence" -- likely due to the "elite demographic" of its audience.

    I saw this news a few days ago and must confess I couldn't draw a logical conclusion from it. I find the explanation in this article to be unsatisfactory also.

    Perhaps it's interesting but little can be learned from this 'study.' There's just too many factors to say ... and it would take just one nutjob billionaire who loves The Colbert Report to make those donations. Or it could be like a Hollywood joke for the rich and famous to build a fund.

    To expound upon the conclusion of the article, what about Democratic guests of The Daily Show which is just a half hour earlier on the same channel with (probably) the same "elite demographic"?

    Maybe it's really about Democratic politicians looking really good against Colbert's over the top ultra-conservatism? Just as speculative (and easily dismissed) as the article's conclusion though. Can anyone else reason out a better explanation?

    Has the study looked at shows with over the top ultra-liberal hosts interviewing Republican politicians ... ah, what am I saying, there's a real lacking sense of humor on that side of the parties in my mind.

    • by db32 (862117) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @09:42AM (#24598253) Journal
      My guess would be that not many Republican supporters watch that show or find it humerous as he is making a mockery of their recent stances on a variety of things. It isn't like he is representing any of their ideas that aren't completely moronic. (Both sides do have a few from time to time).

      So it leaves what is probably a largely left leaning audience watching a Democrat "handle" the over the top Republican insanity in a humerous way.
    • This may come as a surprise, but Stephen Colbert isn't a republican. He's a character, played by a man who also happens to be named Stephen Colbert. This man? He is what we call a satirist.

      Although he makes fun of both sides, it is much easier to make fun of the republicans - since their politics (under introspection) aren't very good. All he does is bring it to the front.

      Also, many democrats are younger and don't have 'time' for politics, but do have time for comedy. If they're watching the Colbert R
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by larry bagina (561269)
        liberal policies aren't any better. George Bush provides great material, just like Bill Clinton did (and still does)
      • by BitterOldGUy (1330491) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @10:06AM (#24598583)
        Although he makes fun of both sides, it is much easier to make fun of the republicans - since their politics (under introspection) aren't very good. All he does is bring it to the front.

        Wait till the Dems get into power in November (unless there's some awesome economic news in the next two months; they got it.). Then these shows will start making fun of them.

        Also, many democrats are younger and don't have time for 'politics', but do have time for comedy.

        (I moved the quotes). Politics these days is about distraction. It's about focusing on non issues, or at least, focusing on issues that a very small minority finds irrationally important. And even then, whatever comes out of any candidates mouth during a campaign is just pie in the sky.

        • by Greyfox (87712) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @11:44AM (#24600199) Homepage Journal
          Stewart has repeatedly said that his show doesn't favor either side and will lampoon whoever is worthy of it. And the show has demonstrated the willingness to do so a number of times. Obama and his administration will get zinged whenever they do something stupid, just like the Bush guys do. I suspect they'll get zinged a lot less, all the same.

          I wonder if Colbert (The Character) is going to switch sides. I could see him leaning whichever way the wind is blowing. He might turn into a hippy Air-America pot smoking liberal after the elections in November.

      • by meringuoid (568297) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @10:12AM (#24598659)
        Although he makes fun of both sides, it is much easier to make fun of the republicans - since their politics (under introspection) aren't very good.

        That, and the Republicans are in power. Being in power normally provides a lot more comedy material than being in opposition. William Hague, Ian and Duncan Smith, and Michael Howard, and anything involving Boris Johnson notwithstanding.

      • by Enderandrew (866215) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {werdnaredne}> on Thursday August 14, 2008 @10:22AM (#24598823) Homepage Journal

        I thought it was painfully obvious that his Republican character he portrays is a joke to espouse his actual Liberal views. It scares me that this might not be obvious to some.

        • by je ne sais quoi (987177) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @10:51AM (#24599329)
          What scares me is that you were modded "insightful". The executive producer of the The Daily Show, Ben Karlin (a former The Onion editor), is quoted as saying that the principal goal of the show is comedy. "If you have a legitimately funny joke in support of the notion that gay people are an affront to God, we'll put that motherfucker on!" source [wikipedia.org]. It's just an example, but the Republican policy positions are much easier to make fun of, in this case due to their hypocrisy because several Republicans are homosexual.
      • by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Thursday August 14, 2008 @10:26AM (#24598903) Homepage Journal

        Although he makes fun of both sides, it is much easier to make fun of the republicans - since their politics (under introspection) aren't very good.

        Nah, it's not a Republicrat/Democan thing. Both sides are equally stupid, and equally easy to make fun of. It's just easier to make fun of the party in the White House, because they're the most visibly active.

        Back when Clinton was in office, Rush Limbaugh was often hilariously funny with the way he made fun of the Democrats. After Bush got into office, he had to switch to supporting his side rather than making fun of the dems because there was so much less material available. At that point, he became a lot less funny.

        • by Bombula (670389) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @11:40AM (#24600117)

          Nah, it's not a Republicrat/Democan thing. Both sides are equally stupid, and equally easy to make fun of.

          Sorry, but that's just not true. The democrats are not a perfect liberal party, but insofar as they are liberal they are less stupid than conservatives. The majority view among intelligent, educated people always supports liberal positions which is why it is liberal, not conservative, politics that shares the label "progressive." Historical trends through the last two centuries have born this out worldwide: liberal views/values/norms steadily become adopted over time while those of conservatives are abandoned. It is overwhelmingly likely that this trend will continue. Just as we now think it was barbaric and grotesquely stupid to enslave black people and deny women the right to vote 150 years ago, we will progress to hold similar views about gay marriage and religion 150 years from now. Any person of nominal intelligence will grant this as indisputable.

      • by DeadDecoy (877617) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @11:07AM (#24599569)

        Perhaps this is the only way to get young people interested in Politics - to make the stupidity that goes on at capitol hill equally accessible to everyone... through satire.

        The reason I watch the Daily Show and Colbert Report (as someone from the younger generation) is that underneath their hyperbolic lies, they seem more honest. The current state of American news seems to be geared towards irrationally demonizing liberalism or leftist view to such an extent that it makes the bile rise. I can understand being fiercely against raising taxes for social projects (hey I hate taxes too), but when the foundation of an argument boils down to they're liberal, it loses all sense of weight and content. At least on those comedy shows, they back up their absurdity with a logical chain of examples to show that their comments have some grain of truth. For instance, they might show a series of clips of newscasters copying one another as a comment on the laziness of news in general. I like those shows because they're a bit more honest and because my faith in the quality of other (American) news channels has been degrading. (Though, I've found CNN and BBC news ok from time-to-time.)

      • by extrasolar (28341) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @11:28AM (#24599933) Homepage Journal

        Although he makes fun of both sides, it is much easier to make fun of the republicans - since their politics (under introspection) aren't very good. All he does is bring it to the front.

        It's sad that people actually interpret the situation this way, no matter what you think "introspection" means. It has been easier to make fun of republicans because, for the most part, they've been the ones in power for the last 8 years. That's what Jon Stewardt has been saying forever now, and I'm sure Colbert is in the same line of thinking but you never see him talk out of character.

        I think left-leaning politos should put a check on themselves with their self-indulgent tripe.

        Lets be clear: humor is most often, but not always, about laughing at absurdities. Now, what a person happens to consider absurd depends on what they've been accultured to. Liberals, suprise suprise, simply have different standards on what they consider absurd and normal than conservatives. Trust me, conservatives have their moments when they can be funny also. The sad thing is when someone from one side simply can't find any humor in the jokes of the other side. Liberals: Just so you know, Ann Coulter is funny! And I don't even mean in that overly sarcastic way you mean it.

        And the first one to assume I'm a conservative/Republican is a doofus.

    • by Faizdog (243703) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @09:51AM (#24598389)

      "one nutjob billionaire" wouldn't explain this, since there are contribution limits. The actions of no one individual, no matter how rich, could explain this. There are interesting dynamics at work here, some people may find it enjoyable to discuss them. But simple answers aren't the solution.

    • by tb()ne (625102) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @09:53AM (#24598423)

      Perhaps it's interesting but little can be learned from this 'study.' There's just too many factors to say ... and it would take just one nutjob billionaire who loves The Colbert Report to make those donations. Or it could be like a Hollywood joke for the rich and famous to build a fund.

      TFA states that there is a significant increase not just in the amount of donations but also the number of donations.

    • by Darth_Burrito (227272) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @10:06AM (#24598589)
      Can anyone else reason out a better explanation?

      I assume appearances on the Colbert show are correlated with increased campaigning which results in increased contributions. I like Colbert, but to me, this sounds like exactly the sort of meaningless pompous statistic he would have fun with and mock.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by C10H14N2 (640033)

      Actually, it is pretty safe to conclude causation here as there are /very/ strictly monitored limitations of PAC funding. The limitations are so low that the difference between what "one nutjob billionaire" can give compared to the average mortal is less than you're likely to spend on a decent meal in Penn Quarter.

  • Demographics? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Androclese (627848) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @09:36AM (#24598183)

    In contrast, their Republican counterparts essentially gain nothing.

    But perhaps Conservatives don't watch the show in the same numbers that their Liberal friends do, equating to the "gain nothing" for the right side of the aisle?

    • Re:Demographics? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by muellerr1 (868578) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @10:09AM (#24598619) Homepage
      I looked at donation records [huffingtonpost.com] for my area in the last two elections, and to my surprise the people giving money to Republicans maxed out their donations at $2000 per person. The Democrats were way more numerous, but vanishingly few gave more than $100 each. This year the Democrats are averaging $300 each, with more $2000 donations. The Republicans aren't all maxing their donations, but a lot more of them are going to Ron Paul and a handful of non-McCain candidates. It doesn't track corporate donations or 'soft-money', but I'd imagine those tend to go Republican anyway, and besides, which corporations are going to donate more to a Republican candidate because they saw them on Colbert?

      This is why Colbert 'bumps' donations to Democrats and not Republicans--individual Democrats appear to have more money to spend on donations this year.
  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Thursday August 14, 2008 @09:37AM (#24598193)

    Not to overplay the "Republicans are a bunch of old humorless farts" stereotype, but let's face it, Republicans aren't exactly Comedy Central's chief demographic in general (and they sure aren't the primary audience of "The Daily Show" or "The Colbert Report"). Even when conservatives do come on Stewart or Colbert, it's generally a very uncomfortable interview (polite applause from the audience, host trying desperately to think of something good to say).

    There have been a few attempts at more conservative humor. Colin Quinn used to have a show [wikipedia.org] that followed Stewart that was more to the right (and very funny), but unfortunately it got cancelled after two or three seasons. And Fox News did a Daily Show-esque show called the "1/2 Hour News Hour" [wikipedia.org] that was just abysmal to watch and not even close to funny (it ran for 13 episodes before the Fox conservatives abandoned their opposition to euthenasia long enough to grant it a mercy killing).

    • I know why. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by BitterOldGUy (1330491)
      Many Republican and a few Democrat politicians don't realize that they are the joke.
    • by Clovis42 (1229086) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @09:46AM (#24598311)

      There have been a few attempts at more conservative humor.

      Have there been many attempts at "liberal humor". I don't think the Daily Show counts. Jon seems to make fun of whoever would be...er... funny. It is not surprising that Bush fits the bill most of the time. Any show that plans on being funny in a "conservative" or "liberal" way is probably going to be terrible. Picking a side just reduces the possible objects of ridicule.

      • by mdarksbane (587589) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @10:26AM (#24598901)

        He mocks everyone constantly, but there is a bit of a difference in how he does it that betrays his bias.

        His mockery of republicans is usually along the lines of "what are those crazy people thinking?"

        Whereas against democrats he tends to be more "come on, guys, I was counting on you and then you sucked."

        He doesn't give anyone a free pass (which I greatly appreciate) but he does betray his bias a bit.

    • by sesshomaru (173381) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @10:02AM (#24598523) Journal

      Limbaugh's success is almost entirely due to his sense of humor. He was basically a Colbert/Stewart of the Right, before Comedy Central was a political humor channel. Now, humor is somewhat subjective, and Limbaugh has a mean streak that comes out at odd times and spoils the party. His mask only slips occasionally though, and he can usually convince his loyal listeners that he was joking or that the monster they saw was just misunderstood. (for example, when he made fun of Michael J. Fox's Parkinsons Disease, or expressed glee at the suicide of Kurt Cobain.)

      Even so, Limbaugh has a great sense of the absurd, and his selective reporting of the news has been great at finding things that are both idiotic and obviously "left-inspired." Now, he's dishonest to a degree, so he'll lie, exagerate or misreport when it suits him. Still, it's actually fairly easy if you go to the right places to find some absurdity related to environmentalism or feminism. Shooting fish in a barrel, it is. Frankly, he doesn't outright lie that often, because he doesn't have to. Clowns attach themselves to any political movement that has any power.

      The new young Turks of Right Wing talk haven't been humor oriented, they've been revenge oriented. So people like O'Reilly and Hannity come across as hate-filled trolls without anything resembling a sense of humor. This is all to the good, because people with no sense of humor make perfect straight men victims for satirists.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I think you'll see a change in this if and when Obama becomes president. Just like the Clinton administration led to the mainstreaming of foxnews, dennis miller (back when he was successful), and talk radio-- the Bush administration has led to the success of Kos, Olbermann and Colbert. While I'm sure the Daily Show and Colbert Report will still be funny, they won't be as poignant and cutting edge with a Democrat in the office. Something else will come along and be the new "in" thing of political satire.
    • 1/2 Hour News Hour (Score:5, Interesting)

      by DesScorp (410532) <DesScorp.Gmail@com> on Thursday August 14, 2008 @10:17AM (#24598731) Homepage Journal

      " And Fox News did a Daily Show-esque show called the "1/2 Hour News Hour" [wikipedia.org] that was just abysmal to watch and not even close to funny (it ran for 13 episodes before the Fox conservatives abandoned their opposition to euthenasia long enough to grant it a mercy killing)."

      Hell, I'm a conservative, and I'll be the first to tell you that show wasn't just bad, it was plain embarrassing. Bad skits. Canned laugh tracks. Every bad trick in show business you can think of, that abomination had it. It couldn't die fast enough for me.

      That show was a prime example of somethings conservatives sometimes do that they never should... try to make a right wing version of a successful liberal phenomena. "Hey, we'll make a conservative Daily Show!". No, you wont. You'll make a cheap knockoff that nobody likes and is done badly. And to be fair, liberals also do this stuff as well... how many attempts have we seen to try and do a liberal version of Limbaugh's program? There's a long and distinguished list of utter failure on that front (Hello, Air America!).

      For whatever reason... one sides' success.... The Daily Show, Limbaugh, pick your example... just doesn't seem to translate well to the other side. Any attempts to "reverse engineer" it and make your own seems destined to fall on it's face.

    • by Chris Burke (6130) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @10:27AM (#24598917) Homepage

      Even when conservatives do come on Stewart or Colbert, it's generally a very uncomfortable interview (polite applause from the audience, host trying desperately to think of something good to say).

      Eh, John McCain did pretty well on The Daily Show, and when I saw him a few years ago Bob Dole was absolutely awesome.

      But that's The Daily Show, which has a slant sure but is perfectly willing to tear Democrats and liberals a new one whenever its appropriate. I think mostly it's because Stewart and the show came unto their own during a period when Republicans were in power and thus provided the majority of the targets. Stewart is liberal in his politics, but I don't think that dominates the show which is mostly about deriving humor from the news. It's not the same as 'liberal' or 'conservative' talk shows.

      Colbert Report, though, is obviously dominated by its slant. There's no avoiding it, as his character is a caricature of a conservative talk show host. He "praised" the President to his face for going with his gut instead of facts, saying "reality has a well-known liberal bias".

      But yes, even though they're different shows, I don't doubt that their demographics are largely the same, and that it doesn't include a lot of Republicans.

  • by Lanboy (261506) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @09:39AM (#24598211)

    The first person to actually question the Bush regime said it right to his face at the press awards banquet.

    And he gave Scalia the finger and made him laugh.

    And then he basically called the sheep like media whores to their faces.

    And everyone who had been keeping their mouths shut woke up

    • That speech was the reason I started to watch the show and then the Daily Show.
      Since I don't have cable I don't get Comedy Central.
      Even if I did have cable, I wouldn't get the US Comedy Central since I live in in the NL
      So now I have a daily ritual of watching TDS and TCR online the day after it aired :)

      One of the best things of the Daily Show imho is that they call the politicians on their stupidity and hypocrisy (sp?) every time they do something they said they wouldn't.
      Colbert is just fantastically funny, his book is funny, the Tek Jansen DVD is funny. I just love the guy :)

  • Democracy (Score:5, Funny)

    by Stooshie (993666) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @09:40AM (#24598235) Journal

    Shouldn't it be Democrat politicians rather than Democratic politicians. After all, whatever your views on Republican politicians, aren't they Democrati...

    Ah, I see your point.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Rayonic (462789)

      I forget, which party is the one that runs un-democratic caucuses during their primaries?

  • by Minwee (522556) <dcr@neverwhen.org> on Thursday August 14, 2008 @10:00AM (#24598501) Homepage

    Wait... Colbert is pregnant?

    Whoah.

  • by DesScorp (410532) <DesScorp.Gmail@com> on Thursday August 14, 2008 @10:05AM (#24598575) Homepage Journal

    "In contrast, their Republican counterparts essentially gain nothing."

    Well there's a shock. I've always thought that Republicans going on Stewart's or Colbert's show was a complete waste of time, unless their aim was to be mocked mercilessly with no benefits whatsoever. Stewart at least tries to be somewhat balanced (as much as his politics will allow him), but Colbert wastes no time with such ideas.

    It'd be like a liberal Democrat going on Rush Limbaugh's program. Just what do you think you're going to get out of it? You're certainly going into hostile territory with little hope of reward. You're not going to sway that audience's opinions... they're pretty well set. I think a Republican going on Colbert's show is not only a waste of time, it's worse. He has a young liberal audience, and if anything changes their opinions, it'll be time and experience. Nothing you say is going to sway them.

    • The article makes no comparison of the 'Colbert' bump to any other bumps. Normally this would be funny if it was reported on his own show because he's funny as he over exaggerates everything, but in reality every show has its own demographic bump. Every time a new movie comes out, the star(s) will make the rounds on all the tv/radio talk shows in order to promote it, and the same goes for politicians looking to get their message out in hope of getting votes and contributions.
  • by Anita Coney (648748) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @10:07AM (#24598597) Homepage

    Both the Colbert Report and the Daily Show are not mere news parodies or simple comedies. They're actual news shows that also happen to be funny. They don't make stuff up like SNL or the Onion, they present real news.

    Sort of like the movie Shaun of the Dead. Despite what people think, it was not a parody of zombie movies, it was a real zombie movie that also happened to be really funny.

  • by tb()ne (625102) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @10:13AM (#24598673)

    If you look at the charts in the original article [apsanet.org], the bump starts around two weeks before they actually appear on the show. Which makes me suspect that the Bump is more likely due to the candidate making a round of interviews (of which Colbert is one), rather than it being due specifically to the Colbert interview.

  • by number6x (626555) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @10:43AM (#24599229)

    Could the appearance on Colbert's show be part of a wider ranging media blitz by some of these candidates? Could they be appearing on Colbert, Leno, Letterman, Meet the Press, The Muppet Show, and Larry King all over the course of a week or two? Then following it up with a few high profile public publicity events coordinated with a few big fund raising events?

    Its called a media blitz.

    If there is a 'Colbert Bump' then we need a controlled experiment. Have a Democrat and a Republican appear on Colbert's show, and make no other public appearances for a month after word. Then measure the outcome.

    I think it is just an artifact of campaign style differences between the two parties. The Democrats have been fond of the Madison Avenue marketing blitz style for a while (lots of flash and no substance). Republicans are more of the smoke filled back room style. (Have third parties funded by wealthy friends and talk radio media figure-heads smear your opponent with a constant feed of lies and innuendo).

    I really doubt the bump in donations is attributable to an appearance on Colbert's show alone.

  • by christurkel (520220) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @10:52AM (#24599361) Homepage Journal
    -- likely due to the "elite demographic" of its audience."

    Nice job feeding into the media narrative that Republicans are pushing: That liberals are elistist snobs. Slashdot should not do politics.
  • by mi (197448) <slashdot-2012@virtual-estates.net> on Thursday August 14, 2008 @11:07AM (#24599575) Homepage

    Even at 8 months old the kid has strange taste.

    Am I the only one bothered by an 8 months old being close enough to a TV for long enough to be noticeably affected by it?

    That's a growing consumer, alright...

  • by goodmanj (234846) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @02:13PM (#24602669)

    In my home we refer to Stephen as "Loud Daddy" because my child would scream bloody murder when we paused him (and only him) on screen. Even at 8 months old the kid has strange taste.

    Now that I think about it, this makes sense. Babies love faces, and Colbert's broad satire comes with some really broad facial expressions. Angry, hurt, sad, gleeful, and more angry. It's probably the only grown-up show on TV which spends most of its time showing a big full-screen shot of a man making goofy faces. Even the Daily Show doesn't compare: Stewart has to deliver most of his punch lines with a newsman's straight face.

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