Pundit RPF

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RPF Fandom
Name(s): Pundit RPS, Punditslash
Scope/Focus: The Daily Show (TDS), The Colbert Report (TCR), MSNBC, CNN, and associated sources
Date(s): 2004 to present
See also: Fake News, Political RPF
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Pundit RPF is a blanket term that encompasses several American news-based source texts: mainly, CNN primetime and MSNBC primetime, and the hosts of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. The fandom has significant cross-over with associated texts such as politics and former professional relationships.

Closely associated is Fake News fandom, which focuses on the full casts of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, including FPF in the "Colbert Report" universe. To differentiate the texts, information-based sources such as Anderson Cooper 360° and Countdown with Keith Olbermann are also referred to as real news.

Pundit fandom developed around the Punditslash community in 2004[1]. As of 2012, the most active communities in either fandom are those that accept fanworks from both, although communities with a specific focus on one or the other do exist.

Writers tend to focus on slash relationships between characters, though femslash, het, and gen are also represented.


Although the terms pundit RPF and punditslash are very general, they appear to be mostly used for the LiveJournal fandom for a particular set of American pundits who were popular in the 2000s (during the Bush administration). RPF about pundits continues in the 2010s, but is less likely to be called punditslash.

On the Archive of Our Own, which entered open beta in 2009, there are only four occurrences of the word punditslash, all in fanworks dated before 2009. pundit rpf is more popular, with 433 results and more recent fanworks, but skimming the search results reveals mostly the same characters featured in 2000s fanworks. The top five characters listed in the AO3 fandom tag Pundit & Broadcast Journalist RPF (US) are Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, and Anderson Cooper.[2]

As of 2018 many of the same personalities are still on the air, and more recent entrants do also appear in the AO3 fandom tag. Another factor is that the LJ fandom was arranged around cable channels, but current pundits of fannish interest are often not on television. See Pod Save America.


Fans do not always follow fake news and real news sources with equal regularity, nor do they always participate in fake news and real news fandoms in ways that correspond with their viewing habits. For instance, a fan who follows fake news and real news sources with equal regularity may only write stories featuring real news characters. Or a fan may create works about the real news characters without following those sources at all, based upon their appearances in the fake news sources and possibly the characterization established by other fanworks.

Fake News Sources

The Daily Show and The Colbert Report are the most popular fake news source texts in pundit fandom, with Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert being by far the most popular pairing in both fake news and pundit fandom at large.[3]

Real News Sources

Real news source texts in pundit fandom include, but are not limited to, Anderson Cooper 360°, Countdown with Keith Olbermann, and The Rachel Maddow Show. The most popular pairing in real news is Keith Olbermann/Anderson Cooper.[3] Another pairing is Keith Olbermann/Rachel Maddow.

Despite pundit fandom's apparent preference for sources that lean toward the American left, Fox News host Shepard Smith and contributor Tucker Carlson also have followings within pundit fandom.

The Pundit Round Table

The Pundit Round Table, also known as the PRT, is a shared universe in which New York-based pundits Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Anderson Cooper, and Keith Olbermann socialize, oftentimes meeting in public to share meals or drinks. The stories may be gen, slash, or het, and the concept has been incorporated into alternate universes or crossovers.[4]

Scrunchy created the Pundit Round Table in September 2006 with the five things Sports Night story Five Reasons Casey and Dan Can't Live Without Cable.[5] While the original story did not include Stephen Colbert, the author later stated this was an oversight,[6] and Colbert has since been considered one of the PRT's four core members.

Pundit Round Table stories sometimes feature appearances from guests such as Dan Patrick,[7] Brian Williams,[8] and Rachel Maddow,[9] who later became a member of the PRT[10] following the August 2008 announcement of MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. Stories that include Maddow as the round table's fifth member are sometimes labeled PRT+.

OT4 and OT5

The PRT and PRT+ are sometimes transformed into corresponding polyamorous relationships,[11][12] with one of the early stories dating back to October 2007.[13] The PRT-based OT4 is often referred to as the fourverse, while the five-person relationship that adds Maddow may be called the fiveverse. The LiveJournal community Fake News Fanfiction applies a pairing: prt tag to Colbert/Cooper/Olbermann/Stewart stories, due to the character limitations of LJ's tag system and the foursome's PRT roots.

RPF Cross-Overs

Past associations are popular, such as Keith Olbermann with his former SportsCenter partner Dan Patrick.

Other RPF personalities that are found in Pundit RPF fanfiction often come from Political RPF, such as Rahm Emanuel, or are people who appeared as guests on one of the programs.

Pundit RPF and The Fourth Wall

Pundit RPF fandom has a relatively weak fourth wall separating it from its subjects.

Daily Show fanfiction was discussed on the political blog Wonkette in 2005, as discussed in more detail on the Fake News page. Ana Marie Cox, the editor of Wonkette at the time, later began appearing on MSNBC shows and is occasionally featured as a character in Pundit RPF.

Stephen Colbert referenced fanfiction while promoting an interview with Anderson Cooper, saying, "Also guaranteeing the success of CNN's report, Anderson Cooper himself will be on my show this Thursday. So gentlemen, start your fan fiction now."[14] Fanfiction has been referenced on the Report and the Daily Show at other points as well.

Fan reaction to the crumbling fourth wall is mixed. Some fans have engaged with the pundits on the topic of fan fiction,[15] while others opt to keep their fanworks locked in hopes of going unnoticed by bloggers or pundits.

Fiction Resources

  • Fake News Fanfiction
    • Despite its name, Fake News Fanfiction describes its focus as being "on The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, with a fair bit of the MSNBC and CNN pundits, as well as a lot of other related odds and ends."[16] It hosts flocked discussion posts Mondays through Saturdays and employs a tag system that makes its archive easily browsable by author, rating, pairing, character, crossover, or series.
  • Pundit Slash
    • The Pundit Slash community focuses on real news pairings and real news crossover pairings. Its archive is located in its memories section; however, this archive has not been updated since 2005.
  • The Daily Show w/ Jon Stewart RPS
    • TDS RPS describes itself as "the first and only LiveJournal community dedicated to slash fanworks about the popular fake news program entitled The Daily Show with Jon Stewart;"[17] however, it features many stories that crossover with other fake and real news programs. It has both memories and tags, but neither are frequently used.
  • Punditfic
    • Punditfic is a Dreamwidth-based community for "fic; fanart; picspams; news items; mixes; vids; essays/discussions; pretty much anything else" that focuses on "The Daily Show; The Colbert Report; various newspeople, pundits, anchors, and comedians; politicians; crossovers of any of the above with whatever else you feel like."[18] Its tagging system is browsable by fanwork type, author, pairing, crossover, rating, and character.
  • Those Stories Plus
    • Those Stories Plus is a Dreamwidth community for fanworks featuring real news hosts and pundits. It hosts members-locked discussion posts on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and maintains a tag system for comment works in addition to top-level posts.


  1. ^ Punditslash Community Profile. (Accessed 21 April 2012.)
  2. ^ accessed 10 December 2018.
  3. ^ a b sarken. Pie (charts)!, published on 22 January 2010. (Accessed 30 August 2010.)
  4. ^ melannen. USS Bill of Rights, published 14 May 2009. (Accessed 30 August 2010.)
  5. ^ scrunchy. First anniversary's paper..., published 5 September 2007 at camera3. (Accessed 29 August 2010.)
  6. ^ scrunchy. untitled comment, published 6 September 2006 in four more five things. (Accessed 29 August 2010.)
  7. ^ scrunchy. The Contract Lunch, published 16 February 2007 at camera3. (Accessed 29 August 2010.)
  8. ^ scrunchy. Press Gangs, published 20 June 2007 at camera3. (Accessed 29 August 2010.)
  9. ^ lucia_tanaka. Peeping Tom, published 22 January 2008 at fakenews_fanfic. (Accessed 29 August 2010.)
  10. ^ lucia_tanaka and polaris_starz. Five Reasons Anderson Kind of Hates Rachel (requires membership), published 21 August 2008 at fakenews_fanfic. (Accessed 29 August 2010.)
  11. ^ vibishan_fics. The Jon/Anderson/Stephen/Keith Foursome-Verse Masterlist, published 3 May 2008. (Accessed 4 September 2010.)
  12. ^ bessemerprocess. Comment Fic Links, published 28 May 2009 at The Turing Test. (Accessed 4 September 2010.)
  13. ^ scrunchy. "Fic: Ten Scenes from Ten AUs PRT, G-R]", published 3 October 2007 at Camera3. (Accessed 15 September 2010.)
  14. ^ Kinaesthesia. Episode 3132 (10/16/2007), published on 17 October 2007 at No Fact Zone. (Accessed 30 August 2010.)
  15. ^ apis_cerana. Untitled (requires membership), published on 25 October 2005 at TDS RPS]. (Accessed 31 August 2010.)
  16. ^ fakenews_fanfic Community Profile. (Accessed 2 November 2010.)
  17. ^ tds_rps Community Profile. (Accessed 2 November 2010.)
  18. ^ punditfic Community Profile. (Accessed 2 November 2010.)
  19. ^ lunaris1013. untitled comment, published 22 October 2010 in considering. (Accessed 2 November 2010.)