U.S. Political Campaign Discourse Explodes Online

The Web is magnifying the influence of TV's Jon Stewart and a host of other commentators, engaging the American public like never before

In the days after Sarah Palin was nominated as the Republican Vice-Presidential candidate, the Web was rife with content focused on the Alaska governor. One of the most piquant—and widely viewed—video clips came from The Daily Show. In it, host Jon Stewart highlighted Palin doublespeak by conservative pundits. He showed, for instance, a clip of Bill O'Reilly calling the pregnancy of Palin's teen daughter a private issue just months after the Fox News commentator had lambasted actress Jamie Lynn Spears' parents for allowing their 16-year-old to get pregnant. "See, see what happens with the opinions on teen pregnancy is that they gestate over a period of a few months," Stewart quipped. The video took off online, racking up 4.2 million views, a record for The Daily Show's site.

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