Problems with the rollout of the Affordable Care Act have been all over the news — and the not-quite news. Comedy Central’s The Daily Show With Jon Stewart has been one news-ish outlet that hasn’t been too kind in its coverage.
NPR TV critic Eric Deggans spoke with All Things Considered host Audie Cornish about why negative coverage on The Daily Show might be worse for the Obama administration than negative coverage on the nightly news.
On how young people get their news from The Daily Show
I think this young group of millennials [are] the folks that the government really wants to take advantage of this program, and The Daily Show is sort of their barometer of when something is ridiculous in government.
And so the fact that The Daily Show — I loved a Daily Show segment, I think on Monday, where they showed the person who’s pictured on [HealthCare.gov] as sort of hanging in despair. She had hung herself because things were so bad. So when you have stuff like that going on on The Daily Show, it might make people less likely to take the [Affordable Care Act] itself seriously.
On an ad run during The Daily Show by Republicans
This ad is sort of a satire of the Apple ads that we saw years ago. And it’s interesting: As lame as the ad itself kind of is, it highlights the problems [with the Affordable Care Act] in the way that The Daily Show has also done. It resonates with the same sort of cultural take that we’ve seen from The Daily Show. So I think it could be effective.
On other lighthearted news shows on millennial-focused networks
As much as I love the The Daily Show and The Colbert Report— they do wonderful work — I’m afraid that young viewers will get the sense that the only way they can consume news is when it’s entertaining, when it sings and dances or makes them laugh. And you want people to be able to focus in on news when it’s substantive and when it’s about something that’s important in their lives. So that’s the one concern I have.