Satirical news from left to right: Discursive integration in written online satire

Britta Brugman, Christian Burgers, Camiel Beukeboom, Elly Konijn

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Previous research suggests that a defining characteristic of satirical news shows (e.g., The Daily Show) is discursive integration: a creative blend of genre conventions of regular news and fiction (Baym 2005). This study aimed to extend the concept of discursive integration to another popular form of satirical news: written satirical news. We focused on both liberal (e.g., The Onion) and conservative (e.g., The Babylon Bee) online outlets of satire. We collected texts published in 2018 by a total of 36 satirical news, regular news, and fiction websites (65,530,647 words). Discursive integration was measured by means of linguistic register, because genres can be effectively identified through patterns of linguistic features. Four linguistic register dimensions were identified. Findings showed that written satirical news is indeed characterized by discursive integration because written satirical news’ register scored in between the registers of written regular news and written fiction. No differences in discursive integration levels were found between liberal and conservative satirical news. This study demonstrates the value of discursive integration for understanding the genre of satirical news across partisan lines.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1626-1644
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • satirical news
  • political satire
  • journalism
  • discursive integration
  • linguistic register


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