Communication Studies


Master of Arts (MA)


Cliff W Kelly

Primary Subject Area

Political Science, General; Mass Communications; Journalism


2008 presidential election, Agenda setting, Colbert bump, Satire, Stephen Colbert, The Colbert Report


Broadcast and Video Studies | Communication | Critical and Cultural Studies | Journalism Studies | Mass Communication | Political Science | Social Influence and Political Communication | Television


In recent years, political satire has risen in popularity and recognition as an effective means of transmitting political news to a younger generation of voters. This recent development brings forth new questions about the role of political satire in setting the public's political agenda. Using Agenda-Setting Theory as a framework, this study takes The Colbert Report, one of the most popular satire television shows of this generation, and analyzes it for a possible political agenda. In the end, what this study finds is that in the six weeks leading up to the 2008 U.S. presidential election The Colbert Report chose to significantly and primarily focus on the issue of economics, therefore setting a political agenda to its audiences. The effects of this political agenda are yet to be measured.