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Survey Shows Satire News Programs Inform People Better Than Actual News on Net Neutrality

Wait. Those "regular" news shows aren't just elaborate jokes?


Buried in a survey on whether or not most of the public in the United States opposes Internet fast lanes—they do, by the way—is a fun little chart showing viewers of which news programs felt they’d heard the most about net neutrality. Surprise! The Daily ShowThe Colbert Report, and Last Week Tonight are by far the top three. Go ahead and have a big belly laugh over Jon Stewart insisting he wasn’t real news on Crossfire all those years ago.

Of course, the data was self-reported in a sample of 900 phone interviews and could have more to do with the demographic of satire news shows feeling informed on this particular issue as opposed to regular news viewers. Still, it’s easy to see how John Oliver’s hilarious, nearly 15-minute net neutrality rant in a once-a-week show could make a person feel more informed than hearing about it in passing a few times along with piles of unimportant nonsense in a now-regular 24-hour news cycle.

Here’s the chart from the University of Delaware survey in all its glory:

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 10.34.43 AM

I will not mention Fox News being last. I will not… dammit!

The baseline of apathetic viewers who gave a “yeah, whatever, I guess I heard about it” response is about the same across all sources, though the satire shows still hold the top numbers. But the amount of people who got the impression that they’d heard a lot about it is double or more when compared to regular news. I can’t say I’m surprised that the satire viewers feel better informed, as we’ve been pretty pleased around here with their coverage of recent events in, say, gaming recently.

If you’re wondering where the other percents are that add up to 100, they likely fall under the missing “a spider must have crawled on me during that segment, and I was too busy flipping out to hear the TV, so I’ve heard nothing” option. Or they just didn’t watch that episode—but they’re not alone. If you add in people who don’t watch any kind of news, humorous or otherwise, fully 50% of US residents haven’t heard about the issue of the FCC’s proposed net neutrality rules at all according to the survey.

When asked point-blank about the idea of letting ISPs charge companies for faster speeds, though, survey respondents overwhelmingly opposed it with 44% strongly against, 37% against, 14% in favor, and 3% strongly in favor. So way to go, comedy news shows. Keep that public informed of issues they’d have a pretty strong reaction to if they ever actually heard about it. You are a bastion of infotainment. Well, either that or your entire audience just watches the clips embedded by every blog in existence the next morning, and it’s very important to them that YouTube doesn’t need to pay for faster data speeds.


(via TechDirt)

Previously in satire news

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Dan Van Winkle (he) is an editor and manager who has been working in digital media since 2013, first at now-defunct Geekosystem (RIP), and then at The Mary Sue starting in 2014, specializing in gaming, science, and technology. Outside of his professional experience, he has been active in video game modding and development as a hobby for many years. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (their dog), both of whom are the best, and you will regret challenging him at Smash Bros.