How satirical news impacts affective responses, learning, and persuasion: A three-level random-effects meta-analysis

Christian Burgers, Britta Brugman

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Satirical news blends entertainment with information and opinion. Satire can thus impact various audience responses, such as positive and negative affect, learning, and persuasion. However, the presence and size of these communicative effects have been debated. We conducted a three-level random-effects meta-analysis on the impact of satirical news (k = 70, Ntotal = 22,969). We compared satirical news to two reference categories: (1) control messages with no or irrelevant information, and (2) regular news with similar informational content. Results demonstrate that satirical (vs. regular) news increased positive affective responses and message discounting. By contrast, satire increased learning compared to control messages, but not compared to regular news. We find limited evidence for a positive main effect of satire on persuasion. However, we find different moderating effects, indicating that persuasion effects are stronger for Republicans (vs. other voters), student (vs. general-population) samples, TV satire (vs. online and print satire), and for satire targeting social actors.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCommunication Research
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • satirical news
  • late-night comedy
  • meta-analysis
  • political humor
  • news effects
  • journalism
  • political communication

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