Countless news outlets have covered the results of the Florida primary, but two in particular are intriguing when compared, for their differing approaches to covering this same news. In the last decade, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, though technically a variety program, has emerged as a reputable source of political news, while the New York Times remains a pillar of American reporting.
Both outlets were drawn to this story for its newsworthiness. Mr. Romney’s landslide victory by a margin of 14% over Newt Gingrich is timely news; obviously important because of the repercussions it has for the remainder of this very crucial election year, where the road to the Republican nomination continues to be full of surprises. While both the Times’ and Mr. Stewart’s coverage contains essentially the same information, their approaches are opposite. The Times story is curt and concise, with no air of satire or personal touches. Mr. Stewart, whose TV show provides him an undeniably more personal platform from which to report, is famous for his sardonic approach and wit. While covering news on the Republican forefront, Mr. Stewart has been particularly known to showcase this sensibility. On the February 1st episode, he compared Mr. Gingrich’s fall from the top spot to a skateboarder’s painful collision with a pole on the street, with the aid of a humorous video clip. The Times would never make such a comparison, yet Mr. Stewart’s use of it doesn’t cheapen his delivery. Mr. Gingrich’s loss in Florida most definitely hurts his campaign, in the same sense that the skateboarder’s fall hurts his body; it will be hard to recover from. Mr. Stewart and his writers value entertainment in their delivery, which the Times does not, yet both remain effective and accurate sources of news.
The New York Times, Marjorie Connelly, Dalia Sussman and Allison Kopicki
“Romney Wins Big in Florida Primary, Regaining Momentum”
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, 2/1/2012