Breaking Boundaries| Cloudy with a Chance of Heat Balls: The Portrayal of Global Warming on The Daily Show and The Colbert Report

Lauren Feldman


This study investigates how The Daily Show and The Colbert Report portray global warming in their satirical news segments and guest interviews. Quantitative content analysis is used to examine the explicit claims made regarding the reality, causes, and severity of global warming; the intended targets of the shows’ satirical critiques about global warming; and how the issue is framed. Results show that a large majority of segments on both programs explicitly affirmed the reality of global warming, and the most frequent targets of global warming humor were climate skepticism, in general, as well as specific individuals and groups associated with skepticism. Although the programs were most likely to frame global warming in terms of political conflict, a majority of coverage simultaneously critiqued this frame.

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