transfer 19(4) » Öffentliche Kommunikation

No Risk – No Fun

Risiken und Chancen politischer Satire-Shows in Bezug auf Politikverdrossenheit

Declining participation in political activities leads to the assumption of a societal disenchantment with politics. Meanwhile, the increasing prevalence of entertainment media begs the question of whether or not the media has negative effects on the population’s willingness to participate in politics. While some research proves this theory, other results even demonstrate positive effects from entertainment media to the vitality of democracy. This paper presents a theoretical meta-analysis of existing studies and examines, whether political satire increases disenchantment with politics or not. Furthermore, it leads to the examination of which risks and chances it offers for politics. Through the large field of satirical media outlets, the paper concentrates on the American The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and its German pendant, Die Heute Show mit Oliver Welke. It combines different studies about implications of the use of political satire on political knowledge, attitudes, interest and participation. It reveals that one media content can result in many different effects, because of varying predictors. Also different users’ motivations and elaboration of media content explain the contradicting results, as will be shown by the two-process-model of entertainment experience. This study gives an overview of existing studies and integrates their results into one approach. Considering the risks of political satire, its contribution to a healthy democracy will be pointed out.