PR PLAY OF THE WEEK: 'Daily Show' does a number on O'Reilly

In media, as in politics, you never want to let the other guy define you. And when it comes to The Daily Show, no guy is more "other" than Bill O'Reilly.

In media, as in politics, you never want to let the other guy define you. And when it comes to The Daily Show, no guy is more "other" than Bill O'Reilly.

So Comedy Central was wise not to let stand O'Reilly's September 17 crack that The Daily Show's audience consists largely of "stoned slackers." "You actually have an influence on this presidential election. That is scary, but it's true," he told Daily Show host Jon Stewart when he appeared as a guest on The O'Reilly Factor. "You've got stoned slackers watching your dopey show every night and they can vote." Apparently shocked out of their drug-induced stupor, the executives at Comedy Central browsed through Nielsen Media Research data and found evidence suggesting the Fox News icon may have had his facts confused. What? You thought that Dan Rather had cornered the market on sloppy? Turns out viewers of the satirical news show are more likely to have completed four years of college than viewers of the legitimate news show. Our apologies if you're unclear which is which. Of course, by winning - or more accurately, by choosing to fight - this particular battle, Comedy Central more or less ceded the war. Stewart is supposed to be the one with the sense of humor, and running to the bean counters to prove the bully wrong is hardly the act of a genuine wise-ass. "Comedy Central must have lost their sense of humor," Fox News spokesman Rob Zimmerman told the AP. But the stats themselves got so much play we have to hand it to Comedy Central. Now if only we can get Stewart to guest on Rush Limbaugh's show.
  • Douglas Quenqua writes PR Play of the Week. He is PRWeek's Washington, DC, bureau chief. Ratings: 1. Clueless 2. Ill-advised 3. On the right track 4. Savvy 5. Ingenious

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