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Jon Stewart’s ‘The Daily Show’ coming to town for RNC

The show will be taped at McNally Smith College of Music’s History Theatre.

Last week, “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” officials announced the show will air from the Republican National Convention in September.

“The Daily Show,” referring to its presidential election coverage as “Indecision 2008,” has reported from each RNC since 2000.

The show’s political satire involves interviews with politicians ranging from former Vice President Al Gore to Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., has appeared on the show 10 times to date.

Graduate instructor Eva Hudecova teaches a news unit in her On Television course with a large focus on “The Daily Show” and its fellow political commentary, “The Colbert Report.”

“The sense that I get,” she said, “is the majority of college students appreciate (‘The Daily Show’s’) irreverence to authority.”

The instructor said discussing news in the United States today is next to impossible without discussing politics.

“(‘The Daily Show’) knows that a lack of bias is impossible,” she said. “They play on that.”

Hudecova said she uses Tom Senton’s “Bad News” as a resource in her teachings, which argues there’s a crisis in the news.

There’s no focus on international coverage and most news organizations are not comfortable addressing a niche market, Senton argues, something “The Daily Show” does while critiquing in a fun way.

Hudecova said while many argue the news to be “left-wing” there really isn’t a balance to FOX News’ conservative coverage.

“The closest balance is ‘The Daily Show,’ ” she said. “But the show has a handicap in that they’re reacting to what’s already happened and not as immediate.”

Hudecova said because the Bush administration is so unpopular, Jon Stewart’s satire offers a release for the public.

“The Daily Show” will also tape at the Democratic National Convention at the Byron Theater at the University of Denver.

In St. Paul, The show will be at the McNally Smith College of Music’s History Theatre, with 600 seating capacity, near the Xcel Center.

Harry Chalmiers, president of the music school, said while the show may have a modest impact on the first day of classes, the learning experience for students seeing the show’s production will outweigh any disruption.

It’s worked into the contract that the college will provide technical support, giving students a major learning opportunity, he said.

Chalmiers said it was appropriate for the show to partner with McNally Smith because while “The Daily Show” uses comedy to impact and educate audiences, the school uses music.

“We have very similar roles,” he said. “That’s how you really have an impact – to get people’s attention.”

Representatives from “The Daily Show” declined to comment.

Students have their say

Molly Elverson, a finance senior, said she’s never watched “The Daily Show.”

“I couldn’t care less what they do,” she said, adding she’s excited the RNC is coming to St. Paul.

“I think it’s going to be the coolest thing to come to the Twin Cities in years for college students,” Elverson said.

Geoff Freeman, who dates a University student but isn’t one himself, said he doesn’t watch TV.

“If I had cable,” he said, “I’d watch ‘The Daily Show.’ Jon Stewart says it like it is, in a funny way.”

Freeman said as far as the show reporting from the RNC, “John McCain will eat the whole studio. It’s going to be ridiculous.”

Ben Good, a marketing junior, said he doesn’t watch “The Daily Show” very much and doesn’t pay much attention to politics, but thinks Stewart is a likeable guy who knows how to get his message out.

David T. Steinman, a collaborative robotics technology sophomore, said the show’s decision to report from the RNC rather than aligning itself with the DNC, will provide richer commentary.

“The city is planning for riots and hoping to make a lot of money from the RNC,” he said. “By giving political commentary on a national level, it’ll give the event balance.”

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