French Bashing, Young Voters and the Newsless

The Pew Research Center conducted a survey to determine which news outlets influence young voter’s decisions. According to this survey, 21 % of young people aged 18 to 29 said they get their campaign news from Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update and Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show. This situation should come as no surprise as the lines between entertainment, comedy, news and politics have become blurred. For instance, previous editorials have focused on Roy Blunt’s joking about the tragic events of World War II in France.

During the height of the French-Bashing campaign of 2003, Comedians were at the forefront of the verbal assault on all things Gallic. From Dennis Miller’s characterisation of the French as Dirty, Pricks and Scum Bags to Jay Leno’s constant use of the word Surrender in association with France and SNL’s broad painting of France and the French as Cowardly, Anti-Semitic, Arrogant, foul-smelling, the message was the same and seriously impacted young American’s view of France and the French.

When published a comprehensive list of comments made by comedians and other media personalities, many readers dismissed the influence of these outlets. In the light of the Pew Research Center’s survey, we are afraid our focus was justified. If 21 % of America’s young voters get their “news” from Comedy Shows, this means that about 8 million Americans have been fed nothing but a straight diet of French-Bashing Rhetoric in 2003.

Marc Saint Aubin du Cormier