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The role of satire in the media : Stephen Colbert and John Oliver in the 2016 US election

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posted on 2023-05-27, 09:30 authored by Evans, LJ
Satirical programmes such as The Late Show and Last Week Tonight have become valuable commodities in the political media landscape as they have become a trustworthy source for the politically engaged consumer. The continued saturation of news borne through the 24-hour news cycle and the presence of the internet has made the consumer's imperative for honesty and perspective even more valuable. These ideals have paradoxically become connected with satire. Such programs aim to shine a light on the folly and deceit of institutional power while building their own masses of active and engaged audiences. This thesis will investigate the role of satire in political media, with a focus on the work of Stephen Colbert and John Oliver during the 2016 United States election, from the initial campaign process in 2015 through to the two hosts' reflections on the eventual result in 2017. Consideration will be given to satire's value as distraction media‚ÄövÑvp as well as a narrative analysis of the brand of the two hosts before, during and after the 2016 US election. It will also contemplate the growing nexus between news satire and conventional reporting and how this affects traditional journalism and more broadly, democracy through consideration of semiotics and theories of how media circulates via social media

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