“Seize Your Moment, My Lovely Trolls”: News, Satire, and Public Opinion About Net Neutrality

Paul R. Brewer, Dannagal G. Young, Jennifer L. Lambe, Lindsay H. Hoffman, Justin Collier


This study examines the implications of messages within a fragmented media environment for public opinion about net neutrality. Drawing on media effects theory and an analysis of media messages, it argues that different forms of media use—including consumption of traditional news, partisan cable news, political satire, and streaming video services—can exert distinctive effects on public familiarity with and support for net neutrality. Moreover, it extends research on information subsidy and intertextuality to argue that political satire use can interact with other forms of media use in shaping public responses to complex policy issues such as net neutrality. Using original data from national telephone surveys conducted in 2014 and 2015, the analyses reveal that various forms of media use predicted familiarity with and support for net neutrality. The findings also suggest that exposure to political satire can shape the translation of information obtained from other sources into opinion.



net neutrality, public opinion, news media, political satire, information subsidy, intertextuality

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