Home – Journalism Series: The Fact Checking Politics on Late-Night TV

Journalism Series: The Fact Checking Politics on Late-Night TV

Posted on 07-19-2016 by Janelle Coates

 Around this time last year, many lamented the pending exit of Jon Stewart from the late-night TV, but NPR’s Dave Davies may have said it best on Fresh Air when he noted, “Tomorrow morning, a generation of 30-somethings will wake up and realize they’re going to have to vote in their first presidential election without the wit and insight of Jon Stewart.” During his tenure, The Daily Show consistently earned accolades—from fans and industry groups alike—for politically-inclined comedy that was backed by actual news research. Fortunately, it appears that the astonishing (for lack of a better word) primary season that brought us to the Republican National Convention taking place in Cleveland this week—as well as the upcoming Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia—has enticed Mr. Stewart out of retirement.  And his reappearance on the late-night roster reminded us of an interview that took place between Stewart and regular Fresh Air host Terry Gross.


Creative Team Relied on News Research to Make Political Points

 Gross spoke with Stewart about a wide range of topics. When we looked up the radio show transcript in Nexis®, we were especially interested in a segment of the show about fact checking. It begins when Gross references a staple on The Daily Show—the hypocrisy videos. Here’s a quick section of the transcript:

TERRY GROSS: Now, one of the things that "The Daily Show" is incredible for is what I've come to think of as the hypocrisy videos. Most recently, like, the Boehner versus Boehner one, where you have John Boehner presenting the new ideas of the Republican Party, and you juxtaposed him saying exactly the same thing in, I think, it was 1993 to what he'd said just a few days ago.

JON STEWART: That’s right.

TERRY GROSS: And you did that, like, with Glenn Beck, for example. You had him saying, you know, the government should never tell us what to do and then had videos of Glenn Beck telling us what to do. And you do that all the time with politicians.


TERRY GROSS: And the videos go back a long way. How do the people on your staff find those old videos?

JON STEWART: Well, you can search on LexisNexis if you have an idea of what you want. And, you know, if the ideas— when you see the pledge, so you're obvious first thought is OK, the pledge is the same as the Contract for America. So let's go back and look at the Contract for America. It's all about just making connections and then looking into it and using search words. It's learning...

TERRY GROSS: It's journalism. It's called journalism.

Of course, Jon Stewart and his writing team aren’t the only ones that rely on monitoring the media and fact checking to inspire and support the stories they write. In fact, LexisNexis is on site at the RNC this week—right between Facebook® and Twitter® on media row—to lend research support to the host of TV, print and online journalists reporting on the event.  We’re also looking forward to providing similar news research support at the DNC next week.


But in the meantime, we’re looking forward to seeing Election 2016 from a new point of view as Stewart teams up with the host of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to cover the conventions.  It will definitely be entertaining!


3 Ways to Apply This Information Now

  1. Check out other BizBlog posts on news research and fact checking
  2. See for yourself why Jon Stewart and his research team relied on Nexis® to uncover relevant videos and news archives.
  3. Share this blog with colleagues to keep the conversation going.

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