This study investigated biased message processing of political satire in The Colbert Report and the influence of political ideology on perceptions of Stephen Colbert. Results indicate that political ideology influences biased processing of ambiguous political messages and source in late-night comedy. Using data from an experiment (N = 332), we found that individual-level political ideology significantly predicted perceptions of Colbert's political ideology. Additionally, there was no significant difference between the groups in thinking Colbert was funny, but conservatives were more likely to report that Colbert only pretends to be joking and genuinely meant what he said while liberals were more likely to report that Colbert used satire and was not serious when offering political statements. Conservatism also significantly predicted perceptions that Colbert disliked liberalism. Finally, a post hoc analysis revealed that perceptions of Colbert's political opinions fully mediated the relationship between political ideology and individual-level opinion.
It's not even that Steven Colbert is being particularly subtle in his portrayal of Conservatives- clueless lunatics overdosing on Amerika uber Alles. I'm a big fan, but from the first episode (and I was watching on Day One), it seemed pretty clear that Colbert's faux earnestness was little more than a smoke screen. I suppose this only serves to provide that much more evidence for my theory that Conservatives by and large are devoid of a functional sense of humor, never mind the ability to lighten up and laugh at themselves now and again. Perhaps this would explain why Fox Noise Channel's attempts at humor have died such ignominious and thoroughly unfunny deaths. For whatever reason (and no, I'm not about to hazard a guess why), Conservatives just aren't funny. Think I'm kidding? Think Dennis Miller, who actually used to be funny and entertaining until he was baptized in the Sea of Reaganism. Now he's just a tired drudge in love with the sound of his own self-professed brilliance, and who thinks he's far funnier than he actually is.
You know, it might just be that the biggest problem facing Republicans today isn't a lack of ideas...though that's certainly a factor. Their biggest challenge may just be an almost complete lack of anything resembling a sense of humor. Jeebus, y'all...lighten up, willya??
Perhaps the true measure of the mastery of Steven Colbert is that he can parody Conservatives while making them think he's actually one of them. Clueless...and built to stay that way, eh??