Comedy Central’s publicity department gets the “BS press release of the day” award with its announcement that ratings for the network’s “The Daily Show”/”The Colbert Report” hour beat the cable news competition among adults 18-34.

How many asterisks does a press release need before you don’t bother to send it out at all?

For starters, two-thirds of the audience for the convention was 55 and over. So bragging about having more viewers under 35 is just flat-out silly. Almost nobody under 35 watches the conventions — or for that matter, cable news, where the median viewer age is regularly in the 60s. Why not just say you beat them among 6-11 year olds, too? It’s equally germane.

Moreover, comparing Comedy Central’s performance in that single hour after primetime against the cable networks — which have been covering the conventions throughout the evening, and shift into analysis mode after the last big speech each night — is an apples-and-oranges scenario if there ever was one.

Finally, Comedy Central conspicuously excludes any mention of the 2-plus total-viewer audience, thus ignoring all those old parasites on Medicare who might not mean much to beer advertisers but who, you know, VOTE.

It would have been simple enough for Comedy Central to tout its ratings performance without pulling Fox News Channel, MSNBC and CNN into the mix or referencing them at all. The channel did for obvious reasons, since the headline from its release — COMEDY CENTRAL TOP CHOICE AMONG YOUNG
is sure to garner attention, especially among the many political reporters who wouldn’t know the difference between a rating and a share if one bit them on the ass.

By doing so, Comedy Central has only further muddied the waters, at a time where there’s already enough wince-inducing ratings coverage out there.

As penance, they should be forced to watch six consecutive hours of convention coverage on any one of the cable networks.