Running for President is a serious business

Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton has tried to inject a little humour into the campaign by pretending to be an air stewardess – but it appears that the role of American satirists such as Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert in the campaign, has not been diminished by the current writers strike in Hollywood.

New research from the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press looks at how the Internet is shaping the US Presidential election so far. Online video and social networking sites are increasingly important, especially among younger voters, often at the expense of traditional media:

Compared with the 2000 campaign, far fewer Americans now say they regularly learn about the campaign from local TV news (down eight points), nightly network news (down 13 points) and daily newspapers (down nine points).

But the online sources that are popular are pretty mainstream, with only The Drudge Report being cited as an alternative source for campaign information. A reference Hillary Clinton will not enjoy, as it is 10 years ago today that Drudge broke the story of the Monica Lewinsky scandal on his website.

Those who said that they get at least some political information from late night talk shows or comedy programmes, didn’t feel as though they were missing out due to the shows not being on during the writers strike.

Academics have studied the rise of political humour and satire, as exemplified by Stewart and Colbert, producing papers such as:

Intute: Social Sciences features more resources on the 2008 US elections – just scroll past the Editor’s Choice selections to see the latest additions.