Research Publication Title

The Portrayal of Controversial Topics in Satirical Media

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Mary J. Land

Keywords

satirical media, late night comedy, politics, news, controversy

Abstract

In a time with media outlets catering news and media to their specific audience, satirical news stands out as it provides a fresh breath of information and humor. Research has found that young adults consume more satirical content than regular news (Boukes et al., 2015). Audiences, especially younger generations, actively tailor what media content they take in; they tend to find media that aligns with their views. Boukes et al. (2015) found that humor plays a large role in message absorption, and Anderson and Kincaid (2013) examine satirical media paradox where fake news is more informative than “credible”, or traditional, media. Through a content analysis of segments of The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and Saturday Night Live, this research will look at how controversial issues are framed in satirical media. By examining 40 segments from The Daily Show, 40 segments from The Colbert Report, and 42 segments from Saturday Night Live in 2014, this research examines the conservative to liberal leaning portrayals of controversial issues. This research project studies what controversial topics are discussed, how they are framed by each satirical news program, and which topics each program covers the most.

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The Portrayal of Controversial Topics in Satirical Media

In a time with media outlets catering news and media to their specific audience, satirical news stands out as it provides a fresh breath of information and humor. Research has found that young adults consume more satirical content than regular news (Boukes et al., 2015). Audiences, especially younger generations, actively tailor what media content they take in; they tend to find media that aligns with their views. Boukes et al. (2015) found that humor plays a large role in message absorption, and Anderson and Kincaid (2013) examine satirical media paradox where fake news is more informative than “credible”, or traditional, media. Through a content analysis of segments of The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and Saturday Night Live, this research will look at how controversial issues are framed in satirical media. By examining 40 segments from The Daily Show, 40 segments from The Colbert Report, and 42 segments from Saturday Night Live in 2014, this research examines the conservative to liberal leaning portrayals of controversial issues. This research project studies what controversial topics are discussed, how they are framed by each satirical news program, and which topics each program covers the most.