TV satire shows offer new political arena

Sept. 4, 2006 at 8:23 PM

NEW YORK, Sept. 4 (UPI) -- Satirical TV series such as "The Daily Show" have become a new path for Washington politicians to reach U.S. voters, but also contain hazards.

Daily Variety reported that while more U.S. politicians have been appearing on satirical shows such as "The Colbert Report" to enhance their images with a younger demographic, many have found such appearances a daunting experience.

Both Democrat Robert Wexler and Republican Lynn Westmoreland from the U.S. House of Representatives appeared on "The Colbert Report." Wexler went along with a suggestion to jokingly say he used cocaine; Westmoreland couldn't name more than three of the Ten Commandments respectively.

With host Jon Stewart drawing in 1.6 million viewers to "The Daily Show" and Stephen Colbert having 1.4 million viewers to his show, the two Comedy Central series have become a veritable right-of-passage for most politicians and have helped redefine the public political world, the newspaper said.

"Not everyone can play in this arena so it will redefine what kind of candidate can survive," media strategist Eric Dezenhall told Daily Variety.

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