This study examines the sociological implications of contemporary news-style political satire on the American public. Comedic programs such as The Daily Show, The Colbert Report and The Onion have exploded in popularity in recent years, and have become a fairly influential part of the mainstream media's field of political discourse. These media texts stand next to, and in continual conversation with, the traditional newspapers and television broadcasts which they parody, revealing some of the hypocrisies and absurdities in government and media. The rise of this genre has accompanied a shift in public ideology, toward anti-authoritarian and anti-intellectual sentiments. In the past several decades, there has been a well-documented decrease in public trust in government and journalism, and the perceived relationship between individuals and institutions has been altered. The purpose of this study is to determine how political satirists define citizenship, and to examine the effect of political satire on viewers' conceptualizations of citizenship. Does satire create a cynical and disaffected populous, or does it encourage critical debate and proactive political attitudes and behaviors? The original research conducted in this study consists of content analysis of satirical videos and survey data gathered from a national population.


Fitz Gibbon, Heather


Sociology and Anthropology


Politics and Social Change


Sociology and Anthropology, political satire, jornalism, citizenship, united states

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis Exemplar



© Copyright 2013 Julie Ann Kendall