The bipartisanship of Stephen Colbert

By Felix Salmon
May 1, 2009

Heather LaMarre, Kristen Landreville, and Michael Beam asked 322 individuals what they thought of Stephen Colbert:

There was no significant difference between the groups in thinking Colbert was funny, but conservatives were more likely to report that Colbert only pretends to be joking and genuinely meant what he said while liberals were more likely to report that Colbert used satire and was not serious when offering political statements. Conservatism also significantly predicted perceptions that Colbert disliked liberalism.  

Isn’t it ironic… don’t you think?


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Thats actually the real genius of Colbert: He’s so close to what the extreme right of the Republican party says and thinks that the satire can be missed by those too far in. Its quite amusing.

Posted by Nicholas Weaver | Report as abusive

I’m too lazy to pull the actual article, so I can’t really speak to its findings.

Speaking as a conservative, though, I’ve often felt that *some* of the time, particularly when Colbert is beating up a particularly dumb lefty, Colbert (or some of his writers) mean some of what he says.

If I had to guess, I would also guess that Colbert falls *slightly* to the right of John Stewart, although I wouldn’t have tremendous confidence in the guess, and I assume he’s still pretty far left.

I assume that lefties watching the same show would disagree to some extent, but our disagreement would mostly be one of degree.

On the other hand, if we’re talking people who believe that Colbert is completely straight and that *everything* he says is serious, then I’d want to see the numbers on both sides.

(p.s.: I once dated a woman who thought that _Spinal Tap_ was a factual documentary about a real band, despite having seen the movie twice. She was, IIRC, a liberal.)

Posted by J Mann | Report as abusive

Yet another reason to believe Darwinism over Creationism :-)

Posted by otto | Report as abusive

Colbert is clearly left of center and he got incredibly tedious to watch in the run-up to the election (yes, Stephen, McCain is old, we get it). But in two ways he is genuinely an asset to conservatism, which is why (I suppose) they read him that way. First, he clearly takes his Catholic faith seriously (whereas Stewart’s Jewishness is all ethnicity, no G-d). Secondly, Colbert frequently lands solid punches against the worst gibberish of lefty guests. He also gives a platform to genuinely idiosyncratic thinkers who don’t tow either the right or left line. He’s a bit less predictable and more genuinely cerebral than Stewart.

But he should stick in his box on Comedy Central. Though my kids thought he was hilarious in Monsters vs. Aliens, my husband and I both thought his “contribution” was torpid and unfunny (and yes, we blame him and not the writers). Just sayin.

That is true. Colbert is definatly more to the right, but he also has a low tolerance for stupidity regardless of the ideological spectrum.

I think thats why I find him watchable.

Posted by Nicholas Weaver | Report as abusive

Many people forget that Stephen Colbert tried to run for president only in South Carolina as a Democcrat. And in a 60 Minute peice on him he admitted that he was just playing a character. He is not more cerebral than Stewart since he say the character he plays is an idiot.

Posted by anthony | Report as abusive

“conservatives were more likely to report that Colbert only pretends to be joking and genuinely meant what he said…”

If you don’t know that Colbert is obviously way left, then you are simply ignorant. If you have any doubts about Colbert’s political leanings then go back and watch his scathing keynote address at the 2006 White House Correspondent’s Dinner. If you don’t “get it” after watching that, then you are beyond help. -869183917758574879

Posted by Myr | Report as abusive