The purpose of this project is to examine how Stephen Colbert embodies and critiques conventional news through his ironic persona. To carry out this study, I employ a rhetorical analysis drawing on both role criticism and performance criticism to examine several segments of the show. Since the 1990s, opinionated news programming has grown in popularity (Norton 315). In its quest for ratings and profit, sensationalism has taken center stage rather than investigative journalism (Selbst 482). Indeed, very few news programs are able to remain impartial with respect to the stories they report and how they tell them. Political humor has done much to criticize this unfortunate shift of priorities in news; however, perhaps no political humor program embodies the sensationalist, partisan rhetoric that has dominated news as well as The Colbert Report (TCR).


Bostdorff, Denise


Communication Studies


Broadcast and Video Studies | Journalism Studies


colbert, truthiness, journalism, media, news, irony, politics, postmodernism, media literacy, simulation, super pac

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2012 Mark Russell