Late-Night Comedy as a Source of Religion News

Lynn Schofield Clark and Jill Dierberg

in The Oxford Handbook of Religion and the American News Media

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780195395068
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Late-Night Comedy as a Source of Religion News

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Journalists, pundits, and comedians have used the term “fake news” to refer to television's contemporary political satire, including Jon Stewart's The Daily Show and Stephen Colbert's The Colbert Report, as well as important predecessors such as Saturday Night Live's long-standing parody-of-news segment, “Weekend Update.” These television programs are definitely about entertainment. Yet recent studies have also demonstrated that for many, especially among the young adult and largely non-news reading population, these programs are an important source of information on political happenings. This article examines The Colbert Report's references to religion and the program's relationship to the changing face of journalism. It considers how the show may be indicative of the ways in which religion will be approached in the news of the future, as religious and cultural pluralism becomes more normative in the United States, and as irreverence replaces deference in the emerging news media's stance toward religion and specifically toward those who would claim religious authority.

Keywords: political satire; religion; religion news; Stephen Colbert; The Colbert Report; journalism; television programs; The Daily Show; irreverence

Article.  7260 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Religious Studies

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