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"Conventions typically offer candidates a chance to present their views on what they consider to be the important issues facing the nation and are critically important for shoring up political bases and reaching out to independent voters," Fox said in explaining her reasoning. "While debates tend to reinforce pre-existing candidate preferences, they are particularly important for activating supporters and can sway undecided voters."
Not surprisingly, a second-by-second analysis of The Daily Show's audio and visual content found considerably more humor than substance — Stewart himself has insisted that he is a comedian and not a journalist. A similar analysis of network coverage found considerably more hype than substance in broadcast newscasts. Examples of such hype included references to polls, political endorsements and photo opportunities.
"Interestingly, the average amounts of video and audio substance in the broadcast network news stories were not significantly different than the average amounts of visual and audio substance in The Daily Show with Jon Stewart stories about the presidential election," she wrote in the paper.