Politics and the Media   /   Summer 2008   /    Reviews

Jody C. Baumgartner and Jonathan S. Morris’s Laughing Matters

Tatiana Omeltchenko

Comedy has become a legitimate news genre in the United States today. According to a 2004 study by The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, 61 percent of young Americans regularly or sometimes learned about the presidential campaign from late-night talk shows and news parody shows such as The Daily Show.11xThe Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, “Perceptions of Partisan Bias Seen as Growing—Especially by Democrats. Cable and Internet loom large in fragmented political uni- verse” (11 January 2004): http://people-press. org/report/200. Laughing Matters: Humor and American Politics in the Media Age is a collection of essays by communication scholars and political scientists tackling the phenomenon of today’s vis- ibility of political humor. The essays, almost all based on empirical research, address humor and politics from a number of angles: How do different media incorporate political humor? How do audiences approach such humor? Does political satire contribute to political disengagement and apathy?

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