CIRCULATING STRUGGLE: The on-line flow of environmental advocacy clips from The Daily Show and The Colbert Report

Geoffrey Baym, Chirag Shah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Scopus citations


The US hybrid comedy/public affairs programs The Daily Show and The Colbert Report have become surprising media spaces in which a wide variety of political and social activists are allowed to advance ideas and advocate issues rarely given voice on corporate television. Increasingly, that novel source of political information and argument is converging with internet-based activist networks, which are using information communication technologies (ICTs) to reappropriate television clips in pursuit of socially and politically transformative agendas. This study explores the convergence between alternative political television and these emergent public spheres. We consider a set of environmental advocacy clips from TDS and Colbert first broadcast in the spring and summer of 2009, respectively, and then track their circulation on-line. Identifying both websites that link to the original clips and sites that in turn link to those linking sites, we examine the multi-tiered networks of information and activism within which contemporary political television is now embedded. We conclude with a discussion of the implications for both political media and networked collective action.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1017-1038
Number of pages22
JournalInformation Communication and Society
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 1 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Library and Information Sciences


  • The Colbert Report
  • The Daily Show
  • collective action
  • digital activism
  • environmental movement
  • issue networks
  • networked politics

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