Comedy as a Route to Social Change: The Effects of Satire and News on Persuasion about Syrian Refugees

Lauren Feldman, Caty Borum Chattoo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

Using a pretest–posttest and delayed recontact experimental design with a national sample, this study examines shifts in U.S. public attitudes about Syrian refugees after watching a topical satirical news segment on Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, compared with a CNN news segment. To investigate synergistic effects between satire and news, the design varied whether the news and comedy segments were viewed alone or in sequence (news before comedy or comedy before news). The results show that all four treatments (news only, comedy only, news-comedy, comedy-news) significantly increased support for refugees from pretest to posttest, and these effects were maintained after a 2-week delay. However, the effects were significantly greater in the three comedy conditions relative to news only. Finally, a serial mediation analysis demonstrated that perceived entertainment value is a positive mediator of comedy’s persuasive effects and serves as a buffer against negative indirect effects through message discounting and argument quality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)277-300
Number of pages24
JournalMass Communication and Society
Volume22
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 4 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Comedy as a Route to Social Change: The Effects of Satire and News on Persuasion about Syrian Refugees'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this