CMPA in the News

Washington beware: Stephen Colbert’s coming for you

Kathryn Davis April 11, 2014

Stephen Colbert is known for tearing apart politicians with an acerbic, unforgiving wit — a trademark that strikes fear in the heart of many a public official. “He’s clearly the most political late night host, and arguably the most partisan,” said Robert Lichter, director of the Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University and the author of the forthcoming book “Politics Is a Joke: How TV Comedians Are Remaking Political Life.”

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David Letterman announces retirement

Kathryn Davis April 4, 2014

Now that Letterman is also on his way out, we may soon be seeing even less politics in the late night landscape. As I reported in February, Leno and Letterman heavily relied on political jokes for their monologues and often interviewed politicians. While Leno was rather balanced targeting both Republicans and Democrats in his jokes, Letterman made fun of Republicans in 71 percent of his jokes, versus just 29 percent of jokes targeting Democrats, according to data from Robert Lichter, director of Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University.

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Latest Studies

News Coverage Contradicts Science on High Fructose Corn Syrup

Kathryn Davis February 4, 2014

Media accounts contradicted the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ conclusion that HFCS and ordinary table sugar are equivalent in their composition and metabolism, according to a study released by the Center for Media and Public Affairs. According to CMPA President Dr. Robert Lichter, “The media still haven’t gotten the message from scientists that HFCS is essentially no different from any other nutritive sweetener.”

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Study: Leno’s Top Joke Target Was Bill Clinton

Kathryn Davis February 4, 2014

On the eve of Jay Leno's retirement as host of "The Tonight Show," a new study finds that Bill Clinton was Leno’s top political joke target over the past two decades, attracting one out of every ten jokes in his monologues, and O.J. Simpson was his top celebrity target. The study was released by the Center for Media and Public Affairs (CMPA) at George Mason University (GMU). It covered 43,892 jokes about public figures and public affairs from 1992, when Jay Leno became host of the Tonight Show, through January 24, 2014.

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Science & the Media