Friday, December 30, 2011

Answers to 2011: The Year in Questions

Check out the answers to yesterday's NYT quiz.

Here's to more Oops! moments in 2012.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

NYT's The Year in Questions

2011 is quickly coming to a close. As we head into 2012, it's fun to look back at the political events of the year.

The New York Times has a great graphical display of 2011's top moments. The chart is pasted below. For the answers check back with the NYT tomorrow (or check the answers out when I post them here).

Look for a return to regular blogging sometime in January 2012.

Happy New Year to all. The Iowa Caucus is just around the corner ...

Thursday, December 22, 2011 for Sale! Great X-Mas Present

The New York Times has a great little piece about the web site,, currently offered for sale by American Bridge 21st Century, a Democratic opposition research group. 

Available for $1 million or less on Craigslist, the web site links to damaging content about Newt Gingrich including negative news stories, the Tiffany web site, and this video on global warming from 2006 with Nancy Pelosi.

Didn't Netflix/Qwikster teach us about the importance of securing Twitter handles, domain names, etc. before launching a campaign?

Perhaps it's cause for Newt's campaign to do a little shopping? Just in time for the holidays ...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Are we down to Newt Romney? Jon Stewart and the Mainstream Media React to Saturday's GOP Debate

Saturday night's GOP debate offered some entertaining exchanges. The first was between Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich (or Newt Romney) regarding the differences between the two candidates.

The best zinger of the evening: when Gingrich suggests that Romney would have been a career politician if he had actually beaten Senator Ted Kennedy during the 1994 campaign in Massachusetts.

Of course the media seems to think the key take-away from the debate is Romney's $10,000 bet wager with a non-betting Rick Perry.

Jon Stewart offered his take on the debate exchanges during Monday's broadcast of The Daily Show.

As a testament to Stewart's popularity, ABC News repeated part of the clip on their Tuesday evening broadcast.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Whether the race is really just between Newt and Romney depends on a few things, including momentum. For more on what might really go down in Iowa, check out Nate Silver's latest blog post. The race is wide open according to Silver -- despite Gingrich's recent surge in the polls and windfall of media attention. Here's to an exciting couple of weeks as we approach the Iowa Caucus.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Fred Armisen's Obama vs. Dana Carvey's George Bush

Jason Zinoman offered an interesting critique of presidential caricatures on SNL in yesterday's NYTimes. According to Zinoman, Armisen has less to offer in his portrayal of Obama than Carvey did with Bush I or even Will Ferrell with Bush II. One reason for the critique of Armisen's portrayal -- Obama gives comedians less to "work with" than his predecessors. He just doesn't say that many funny things or have that many compelling gestures.

Despite Armisen's less than hilarious version of Obama, Saturday Night Live still presents some very important political satire and is poised to play a pivotal role in the 2012 election. In 2008, Tina Fey's version of Sarah Palin grabbed more attention (especially virally) than the actual Vice Presidential debate.

Interestingly, Zinoman mentions the importance of Saturday Night Live as a venue for politicians -- making appearances in an attempt to charm voters with some self-ridicule or self-directed humor. My own research, forthcoming in Mass Communication & Society takes a look at the impact of self-directed vs. other-directed hostile humor on political attitudes. The results of the study suggest that voters cool towards politicians after viewing other-directed hostile humor (presented by Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, and the like). At the same time, the study suggests that self-directed humor may hold some promise for politicians looking to improve their image and engage with a large segment of the voting public.

So look for more Armisen impersonations and perhaps even Obama himself (or even Romney) as we get closer to November 2012.