Publication Date


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Master of Arts in Communication



Major Advisor

Seth Ashley, Ph.D.


Julie Lane, Ph.D.


John McClellan, Ph.D.


This study examines the role of critique in news and its necessity in a media landscape focused on journalistic ideals of objectivity. Using The Daily Show with Jon Stewart as a case study, this research first, examines the way in which the program fulfills the normative tasks of the media and can be considered news. Second, it considers how the program, and others like it, operate outside the realm of traditional news media and are, consequently, not subject to expectations of objectivity, potentially allowing for greater critique of powerful political, economic and media entities. Finally, the role of news in U.S. democracy is examined, looking at the topics covered on The Daily Show and the potential for the show to inform citizens to be educated participants in their political system.