Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1838730
 
 

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The Impact of the Daily Show and the Colbert Report on Public Attentiveness to Science and the Environment


Lauren Feldman


American University

Anthony Leiserowitz


Yale University

Edward W. Maibach


George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication

May 11, 2011


Abstract:     
Prior research on the political effects of late-night comedy programs has demonstrated that by piggy-backing political content on entertainment fare, such programs provide a, "gateway," to increased audience attention to news and public affairs, particularly among less politically engaged audiences. Given the heightened coverage of science and environmental topics on Comedy Central’s satirical news programs, "The Daily Show," and, "The Colbert Report," this paper considers whether a similar process could be at work relative to public attention to science and the environment. An analysis of nationally representative survey data finds that audience exposure to, "The Daily Show," and, "The Colbert Report," goes hand-in-hand with attention paid to science and environmental issues, specifically global warming. Moreover, the relationship between satirical news use and attentiveness is most pronounced among those with the least amount of formal education, who might otherwise lack the resources and motivation to pay attention to scientific and environmental issues. In this way, satirical news is an attention equalizer, reducing traditional gaps in attentiveness between those with low and high levels of education.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 32

Keywords: climate change, media effects, environment

JEL Classification: D80

working papers series


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Date posted: May 20, 2011  

Suggested Citation

Feldman, Lauren and Leiserowitz, Anthony and Maibach, Edward W., The Impact of the Daily Show and the Colbert Report on Public Attentiveness to Science and the Environment (May 11, 2011). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1838730 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1838730

Contact Information

Lauren Feldman (Contact Author)
American University ( email )
4400 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20016
United States
Anthony Leiserowitz
Yale University ( email )
New Haven, CT 06520
United States
Edward W. Maibach
George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication ( email )
4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States
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