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date: 02 December 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Because satirical news programs such as The Daily Show and The Colbert Report pay substantial attention to science, this chapter considers their significance as sources of science attitudes and information. The first section of the chapter discusses general attributes of satirical news and how these may help foster public attention to, active engagement with, and understanding of science. The chapter then highlights limitations on the capacity of satire to communicate science, including the challenge of conveying the seriousness of certain science issues while using humor, the potential for audience misreading of satiric intention, the inherent divisiveness of satire, and the tension between communication goals and the authenticity of satiric performance. The chapter draws on studies that have explicitly analyzed the role of satirical news programs in a science communication context while also raising important unanswered research questions.

Keywords: satire, science communication, The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, satirical news

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