Thursday, September 8, 2016

The Daily Show, OR: Trump News Network

By Alex Lumley

The Daily Show seems to be quite in love with Donald Trump- perhaps almost as much in love as their viewers are of watching host Trevor Noah make a mockery of "The Donald's" latest outrageous action or statement.

One need only look at the publication's official Facebook page to see this- as of 3 in the morning on Thursday, September 8th, more than half of the videos on that page's feed that were published in August contained direct footage of Trump or centered on discussion of the candidate, while not a single video published in the month of September featured Hillary Clinton's name in the title or description. Also, for the record, yes- I sometimes do stay up until 3 in the morning perusing Trevor Noah's content. What can I say? I enjoy his coverage of the Republican candidate as much as the next guy.

Interestingly enough, it seems as though this observation is reflective of a larger trend in mainstream media over the past week. The Daily Show, as its name would suggest, generally produces only one half-an-hour long segment per weekday. This means that they produce FAR less content in a week than major news networks like CNN, FOX, or MSNBC produce in a single day. But if we were able to increase the amount of content The Daily Show produced on a weekly basis to roughly match that of its major media outlet competitors, I'd be willing to bet that they'd have about the same amount of Trump coverage (read: a lot) to the same amount of Hillary coverage (read: not a lot).

It does make some sense. After all, The Daily Show, because of its comparatively smaller amount of air-time, has to serve as a highlight reel of sorts. They're going to take only the most noteworthy election stories run by the larger networks and condense them into bite-sized summaries of themselves, given a humorous spin. More often than not as I mentioned in my previous entry, Noah doesn't just play these stories for laughs and move on. Instead, he'll spend quite a large chunk of his airtime bringing in credible people to discuss these stories in a way that's far more frank and opinionated than anything you'd find on MSNBC or FOX (shocking as that thought may be).

Take, for example, the part of this segment in which Noah had a conversation with his Senior Campaign Correspondent Roy Wood, Jr. You would practically never hear a journalist on a major news network talk about Trump's reason for being in a prominently black church in Detroit in the way that Wood Jr. does. And that's exactly what sets The Daily Show apart as a unique voice amongst dozens of media outlets competing to tell the story of Election 2016- their ability (and willingness) to acknowledge and embrace the biases of their host and contributors, and to not let the pursuit of perfect objectivity hold them back from delivering the message they want to deliver. They're telling the story that they want to tell to the audience they want to tell it to.

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