The Fall Comedy Campaign: Late-Night Comedians Target Romney for Laughs More Than Twice As Much As Obama

Late-night comedians have a dramatic bias in favor of Barack Obama. Los Angeles Times media reporter James Rainey passed along that The Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University catalogued jokes about public figures told from August 27 to October 3 by Jay Leno, David Letterman, Jimmy Fallon, and Craig Ferguson. (No Kimmel? No Conan?)

The monologues of the top nighttime talk shows have targeted Romney with 148 jokes since the political party conventions this summer, compared with 62 jokes aimed at Obama. Guess whose act tilted the most against Romney?

Letterman’s routines tilted most heavily toward Romney barbs. He told 44 jokes about Romney and nine about Obama. But all four of the comedians told more Romney jokes.

Take Letterman out of the study, and it's roughly a two to one margin (104 to 53). But Letterman whacked Romney more than four times as often.

CMPA's study found there were 290 jokes about Republicans, more than twice the 138 jokes about Democrats. The Top Ten joke targets included five Republicans and three Democrats. Here’s how the rest of the list looked:

3. Arnold Schwarzenegger (39)

4. Bill Clinton (28)

5. Paul Ryan (20)

6. Prince Harry (19)

7. Clint Eastwood (18)

8. Joe Biden (16)

9. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (15)

10. Chris Christie (14)

In 2008, CMPA found Obama lagged behind the Republicans. GOP nominee John McCain was first (658 jokes), his running mate Sarah Palin was second (566), exiting President George W. Bush (244) was third, and Obama was fourth (243).

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis