Friday, July 26, 2013

JOBEM: The Political Satire Issue

The latest issue of the Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media arrived in my mailbox the other day and there are two articles that focus on political satire -- specifically, faux programs like The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
  • An article by Dannagel G. Young takes a uses and grats approach to explore why young people are drawn to, or away from, satirical programming.  In mass comm we often dare to research the obvious (I've done it myself) and this one finds those who like such programming watch it for the humor, to learn what's going on, that they see is as unbiased (really?), and it makes the news fun.  When research says it's about "young people" you can read that as code for "I surveyed kids in college classes."  That's the case here, and as many of us know, college students are linked to, but not necessarily the same as, humans.  A big deal here is that young people watch because such programs make news fun.  The journalist in me cringes, but it's clear that the motivations for why people watch are very different than what Stewart and others hope to accomplish in their programs.
  • An article by R. Lance Holbert and colleagues looks at perceptions of satire as persuasion.  It's a different take, an experimental approach (yes, yet again the intensive study of that creature, the college student) that finds young voters perceive there to be persuasive intent in satire.  It dips into the differences between horatian and juvenalian forms of humor (I covered this last summer in a grad seminar, very interesting stuff).  The authors find "neither type of satire functions as effective narrative persuasion" from the standpoint of the dominant model in the field -- ELM.
There's also a piece about Twitter I haven't gotten to yet in the journal.  Perhaps more on that another time.

No comments: