Peifer article: News parody shows can increase trust in media

The Media School Report • Aug. 8, 2017
Assistant professor Jason Peifer (Tiantian Zhang, BAJ'15)
Assistant professor Jason Peifer (Tiantian Zhang, BAJ’15)

News parody shows like Comedy Central’s The Daily Show can foster increased trust in the media, according to an article by assistant professor Jason Peifer published in the latest Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly.

In “Imitation as Flattery: How TV News Parody’s Media Criticism Can Influence Perceived News Media Importance and Media Trust,” Pfeifer evaluates the results of a study in which he exposed 352 U.S. residents to clips from either The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, Last Week Tonight With John Oliver or The Colbert Report. Viewers recorded their feelings toward the news media one week before and immediately after viewing the clips.

Results showed that the programs’ implicit commentary about the press (as opposed to explicit, negative criticism) influenced viewers’ perceived importance of the news media and fostered increased trust in the press.