The Colbert-Stewart Political Breakdown

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    Embed <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
  • Transcript

A new poll by the Harvard Institute of Politics says that young people are split between Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart along party lines.


So, what about politics? Who do young people turn to for that?

(Soundbite of birds squawking)

Mr. STEPHEN COLBERT (TV Host): Tonight, Hillary Clinton wins the Pennsylvania primary.

(Soundbite of applause)

Mr. COLBERT: I can't wait to see where she grew up in Indiana.

SEABROOK: Stephen Colbert and his show, "The Colbert Report." That and...

Mr. JON STEWART (TV Host): For those of us who never got to know Karl Rove -mostly because he refused to answer any of the public's questions - who...

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. STEWART: ...was he?

SEABROOK: ..."The Daily Show with Jon Stewart." Both shows are on Comedy Central. According to a recent poll of young Americans between 18 and 24, an astonishing 84 percent of them know the two political comedians.

Harvard's Institute of Politics conducted the poll. Those who identified themselves as Democrats were more likely to watch Jon Stewart. And here's the fascinating part: young Republicans were much more likely to watch Stephen Colbert. That, even though his entire shtick mocks conservative commentators, like Bill O'Reilly of Fox News.

Here's Colbert being interviewed by O'Reilly last year.

Mr. BILL O'REILLY (TV Host): Now, what is it exactly that you do on your program?

Mr. COLBERT: Well, what I do, Bill, is I catch the world in the headlights of my justice, okay?

Mr. O'REILLY: Your justice?

Mr. COLBERT: I shine my light...

Mr. O'REILLY: Right.

Mr. COLBERT: Okay? I shine my light no matter where that light takes me, okay? I'm not afraid of anything, okay? I emulate you...

Mr. O'REILLY: Yeah.

Mr. COLBERT: ...and I want to bring your message of love and peace, which I understand that is your message.

Mr. O'REILLY: It is.

Mr. COLBERT: I want to bring the message of love and peace to a younger audience. People in their 60s, people in their 50s. People who don't watch your show.

Mr. O'REILLY: Okay. So...

SEABROOK: Stephen Colbert on Fox News.

This is NPR News.

Copyright © 2008 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.