The event, titled the “Rally to Restore Sanity,” is intended to offer an alternative to what Stewart calls the “loud” 15 to 20 percent of the country that seemingly dominates political discussion with extreme partisan rhetoric.
According to Stewart’s website, “Ours is a rally for the people who’ve been too busy to go to rallies, who actually have lives and families and jobs (or are looking for jobs) — not so much the Silent Majority as the Busy Majority. If we had to sum up the political view of our participants in a single sentence … we couldn’t. That’s sort of the point.”
Given it’s timing and title, Stewart’s rally is seemingly a response to a Fox News talking head Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally held last August. Despite Stewart’s anti-partisan intent, a recent Pew Research Center study provides evidence that viewers of “The Daily Show” are just as politically polarized as Beck’s viewing audience.
The survey stated that 19 percent of Beck’s viewers are self-described conservatives while a fraction of a percent claimed to be liberal. The survey also concluded that 14 percent of Stewart’s viewers claim to be liberal with 3 percent alleging to be conservative.
The study also revealed that partisan polarization exists beyond cable opinion shows and has found a place among viewers of major media outlets. Fox News viewing audience is made up of 60 percent conservative, 29 percent moderate, and 9 percent liberal. Whereas MSNBC’s audience consists of 30 percent conservative, 38 percent moderate, and 30 percent liberal.
Using slogans such as “Take it down a notch for America,” and “I disagree with you, but I’m pretty sure you’re not Hitler,” Stewart hopes to make a statement against hyperpartisan rhetoric in the media.
Will his own politically polarized audience prevent him from having an impact in media reform? How will this statement affect how this nation view mass media?