You just can’t make crap like this up. Unless you’re Stephen Colbert.

This study investigated biased message processing of political satire in The Colbert Report and the influence of political ideology on perceptions of Stephen Colbert. Results indicate that political ideology influences biased processing of ambiguous political messages and source in late-night comedy. Using data from an experiment (N = 332), we found that individual-level political ideology significantly predicted perceptions of Colbert’s political ideology. Additionally, there was no significant difference between the groups in thinking Colbert was funny, but conservatives were more likely to report that Colbert only pretends to be joking and genuinely meant what he said while liberals were more likely to report that Colbert used satire and was not serious when offering political statements. Conservatism also significantly predicted perceptions that Colbert disliked liberalism. Finally, a post hoc analysis revealed that perceptions of Colbert’s political opinions fully mediated the relationship between political ideology and individual-level opinion.




  1. jccalhoun says:

    From the actual study:” The data presented in this study were collected in an online survey from 332 participants enrolled in undergraduate communication courses at a large midwestern university.”

    That explains it. I’m a graduate student and from my experience there are a large amount of 18-20 year old kids who simply do not get irony and satire. I’ve given up using The Onion as an example in my class because a large percentage simply don’t get the joke.

    Additionally, a large number of undergrads don’t watch television very much and don’t watch the Daily Show or Colbert Report. There have been tons of times when I mentioned something from a recent television show and my students had no idea what I was talking about. I would guess that at least 20% have no idea who Steven Colbert is.

    This study would be a lot more interesting if it contrasted a group of older people with this group of younger people.

  2. cheapdaddy says:

    Your first clue that Colbert is joking could be maybe HE”S ON COMEDY CENTRAL? The other networks can be unintentionally funny sometimes. The NBC networks are usually “funny” in the same manner as the forgotten hunk of casserole in the fridge from last month is funny.

  3. deowll says:

    Studies like this tell you a lot about the values and beliefs of the person doing the study.

    All I saw was an opinion.

  4. Wretched Gnu says:

    It’s just a historical fact that conservatives have always been slow on the uptake when it comes to satire and irony. This has been true since the 18th century.

    Conservatives, on the whole, are just not that bright.

  5. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz says:

    I take everything with a grain of salt, I don’t care how credible they’re. If you don’t you’re stupid.

    Stupid so called Credible News people report crap they saw on Onion.

  6. needs-control says:

    Everyone is predisposed to think that people share their ideology. The words conservative and liberal are so ambiguous nowadays that you can take any position and argue that it is either. Marking colber as the same ideology as yourself means about as much as saying “i like the guy” or “it seems like a funny show”. This study does nothing to prove that conservatives “don’t get it”.

  7. michaelcfye says:

    Colbert is Catholic. If you ask any Catholic educated in his faith, he can see what Colbert is doing. He often takes the non-Catholic approach to the Bible, and other similar issues, and satirically and subtly exposes the real problems found in (for example) the non-Catholic approach to the Bible.
    So, any person with their head screwed on right should recognize that his arguments are both not valid and not sound, but a Catholic can often see what is is trying to do by making such obviously faulty deductions and positions.

  8. grog says:

    well, noticing how many conservatives are posting angry rants here, i can only conclude that they lack a sense of humor.

    QED

  9. Arariel says:

    #19:
    Although I don’t accept CC as a valid news source, are liberals who take CC seriously as a valid news source any worse than anyone who takes Faux News as a valid news source?