Conservatives Take Colbert Seriously

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Stephen Colbert plays a character on The Colbert Report in which he satarizes conservatives such as Bill O’Reilly. While most liberals realize this, a study at Ohio State University found that many conservatives take him seriously and think he is only pretending to to be joking. From the abstract:

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.

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11 Comments

  1. 1
    b-psycho says:

    If that result is even remotely representative, it says more and worse about conservative targeted media than anyone could deliberately come up with…

  2. 2
    cognitive dissident says:

    It’s not so surprising that they take Colbert seriously…after all, they also treat Limbaugh, Coulter, Savage, Beck, and Hannity (et al) as serious political commentators.

    Having said that, their seriousness is the funniest thing I’ve read all day!

  3. 3
    Kim Eckland says:

    Conservatives Take Colbert Seriously – Liberal Values – Defending … http://tinyurl.com/cr8d4r

  4. 4
    oreillyfan says:

    Conservatives Take Colbert Seriously – Liberal Values – Defending … http://tinyurl.com/cr8d4r

  5. 5
    Kim Eckland says:

    Conservatives Take Colbert Seriously – Liberal Values – Defending … http://tinyurl.com/cr8d4r

  6. 6
    Eclectic Radical says:

    It’s not surprising at all. In the current culture of ‘Middle America’, there is a significant ‘dumbing down’ process at work. It is not that people are necessarily stupid, some are not. However, there is a great belief in simplicity and bluntness; nuance and subtlety are not considered virtues when noticed and are often missed entirely.

    This is not even a strictly ‘conservative’ problem, this ‘dumbing down’ effect colors the thinking and perceptions of many moderates and some liberals as well. Nor does it affect all conservatives.

    It’s an American cultural problem produced by the same tendencies that gave us reality tv and many of our daytime talk shows. Some people blame the media, some people blame the education system, some people have paranoid conspiracy theories, and plenty of people combine any two or all of the above. Personally I blame the media, the education system, and a bureaucratic culture that encourages formulaic thinking instead of innovation and activism. Many people ascribe the latter to the government specifically, but this is a dangerous intellectual error. This kind of compartmental, regimented, controlled thinking and encouraging of the absorbing of canned ideas in place of having one’s own ideas is equally prevalent in business and many social institutions. It has become part of the American culture.

  7. 7
    Ron Chusid says:

    I’m not sure that the country is any more “dumbed down” now than in the past. One difference is that the internet and conservative talk radio make it far easier to encounter extremist views (which often overlap with “dumber” views).

    The main problem here is one that has been encountered so many times before. The conservative movement has been taken over by people whose thoughts are so ridiculous that it is very difficult to distinguish between these conservatives and parody of conservatives.  It’s a tough time to be a serious, thoughtful conservative with these movement conservatives making so much noise.

  8. 8
    Eclectic Radical says:

    “It’s a tough time to be a serious, thoughtful conservative with these movement conservatives making so much noise.”

    I know. I was actually a conservative Republican once. These are the people who made me what I am today.

  9. 9
    tarra says:

    I thought he was being serious too.

  10. 10
    Lucas McAdams says:

    i think this is the OSU study she was talking about… pretty absurd… http://bit.ly/oaY5e #J201

  11. 11
    duckluke says:

    i think this is the OSU study she was talking about… pretty absurd… http://bit.ly/oaY5e #J201

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