This study examines political trends that existed in late-night talk show monologues throughout October 2004. Designed to detect which candidates and issues were addressed, along with the degree to which hosts positively or negatively framed the candidates, the results clarify the issues and people that the public was familiar with.

The monologues of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and The Late Show with David Letterman were examined. A content analysis and a semantic differential scale distinguished important issues, candidates and the framing of those candidates. Trends within each show were noted.

The results show President George W. Bush as the prime target for jokes. Comedians were the most negative about candidates familiar to the audience from the previous election.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

United States--Politics and government--Humor; Political satire, American; Television programs--United States--History and criticism; Television talk shows--United States--History and criticism; American wit and humor

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Communication and Media Technologies (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

Department of Communication (CLA)


David Neumann

Advisor/Committee Member

David Pankow


Physical copy available from RIT's Wallace Library at E183 .S43 2005


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