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Posted by on May 13, 2009 in At TMV | 4 comments

Colbert Singing to the Choir

A recent study looked at liberal and conservative reactions to Stephen Colbert’s satire. Heather LeMarre, one of the study’s authors, was a guest on On The Media Friday. She explains that both liberals and conservatives actually think Colbert shares their political beliefs:

You might watch that and you might think that’s hilarious, he’s making fun of conservatives, look how funny that is, which is what we found for liberals.

However, if you’re conservative, you might look at that and say, that’s hilarious, he’s using comedy to expose flaws or holes in liberal thinking. So both sides basically see what they want to see. […]

[The study] has been misinterpreted widely, actually, in the press, to date. There is no question in anyone’s mind, according to our results, that conservatives, in fact, do understand that it’s satire.

What’s going on here is that even though conservatives understand he’s parodying a conservative, they believe he’s truly targeting liberal thinking.

And there’s this:

Something that is being put out in a follow-up study is one interesting difference we did find is that the more conservative someone reported themself to be, the more they also reported Stephen Colbert to be a credible and excellent source for political information.

When we’re talking about just enjoyment or humor, we don’t find differences. But when we get down to sort of the brass tacks of do you use Stephen Colbert to get political information, and when he says something political do you find it credible and reliable, conservatives are more likely to say yes.

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