STEWART VS. COLBERT 2012: HOW SATIRICAL COVERAGE OF THE 2012 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION AFFECTED COLLEGE STUDENTS

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2014-01-02

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Abstract

Young people have shifted away from traditional news broadcasts and towards late-night comedy programs as a source of news. This research uses The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report, two of the most popular comedy news programs during the 2012 election season, to analyze how watching political satire television affects college students’ political engagement. Five hundred and ninety-six students from Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill were surveyed. Students who reported watching more satire were more interested in politics, more knowledgeable about campaign news and the government, and more active in politics through voting and campaigning. Students who reported watching more satire also evaluated Obama more positively and Romney more negatively, regardless of party identification. When some students were randomly exposed to 6-minute montage clips of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report, those students demonstrated a greater interest in politics and desire to participate politically in the future. The evidence is clear: watching political satire significantly affects college students’ political engagement. Although students who watch more satire are similar to those who watch more traditional news, students who watch satire by chance have a greater desire to participate politically and are more critical of Romney than those who watch news by chance.

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Jacobs, Caroline (2014). STEWART VS. COLBERT 2012: HOW SATIRICAL COVERAGE OF THE 2012 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION AFFECTED COLLEGE STUDENTS. Honors thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/8292.


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