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Politics Is a Joke!: How TV Comedians Are Remaking Political Life Paperback – 22 Jul 2014

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Product Description

Review

""Politics is a Joke!" is an outstanding contribution to explaining and evaluating the expanding role of humor in American political culture, politics, and government. It is an exceptional piece of scholarship in service to the classroom in its clear and cogent quantitative and qualitative analysis of late night political humor and its impact on mass audiences."
--Michael Fitzgerald, University of Tennessee

""Politics is a Joke!" does an excellent job of determining how political humor influences public perception of presidents and other political figures. The authors provide a thorough analysis of late night talk shows that hold sway with the public, including those of Comedy Central, often to the extent of influencing the outcome of a presidential election. Readers will find the work of these authors intriguing."
--Terri Jett, Butler University

""Politics Is a Joke!" is an outstanding contribution to explaining and evaluating the expanding role of humor in American political culture, politics, and government. It is an exceptional piece of scholarship in service to the classroom in its clear and cogent quantitative and qualitative analysis of late night political humor and its impact on mass audiences."
Michael Fitzgerald, University of Tennessee
""Politics Is a Joke!" does an excellent job of determining how political humor influences public perception of presidents and other political figures. The authors provide a thorough analysis of late night talk shows that hold sway with the public, including those of Comedy Central, often to the extent of influencing the outcome of a presidential election. Readers will find the work of these authors intriguing."
Terri Jett, Butler University
This book is informative, entertaining, and timely. Highly recommended. "Choice"
Should be required reading for political strategists whose candidates images are both shaped and reflected by TV humor. . . . Astutely analyzed . . . its insights will find their ways into the mainstream media. "Kirkus"
Engagingly written with analysis of jokes from comedians like Jay Leno, Conan O Brien, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, "Politics Is a Joke!" is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the crucial role late night comedy plays in our political universeand anyone who enjoys a good laugh. "SirReadaLot"
"

From the Back Cover

Does late night political humor matter? Are late night comedians merely entertaining, or do they have the power to influence the way we think about politics and politicians? "Politics is a Joke!" demonstrates how the public turns to late night comedy for political information and is in turn affected by it.
Using exclusive data from the Center for Media and Public Affairs, the authors conduct a detailed and exhaustive analysis of political jokes on late night shows dating back to 1992. Drawing on examples from comedians like Jay Leno, Jon Stewart, and Stephen Colbert, the authors pinpoint the main targets and themes of late night comedy and examine its impact on political institutions and politicians. "Politics is a Joke!" is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the crucial role late night comedy plays in our political universeand for anyone who enjoys a good laugh.
""Politics is a Joke!" is an outstanding contribution to explaining and evaluating the expanding role of humor in American political culture, politics, and government. It is an exceptional piece of scholarship in service to the classroom in its clear and cogent quantitative and qualitative analysis of late night political humor and its impact on mass audiences."
Michael Fitzgerald, University of Tennessee
""Politics is a Joke!" does an excellent job of determining how political humor influences public perception of presidents and other political figures. The authors provide a thorough analysis of late night talk shows that hold sway with the public. Readers will find the work of these authors intriguing."
Terri Jett, Butler University
S. Robert Lichter is professor of communication at George Mason University, where he also directs the Center for Media and Public Affairs and the Statistical Assessment Service (STATS). His most recent books are "The Nightly News Nightmare" (3rd ed.) and "The Global President" (with Stephen Farnsworth and Roland Schatz).
Jody C Baumgartner is associate professor of political science at East Carolina University. His latest books include "Conventional Wisdom and American Elections" (with Peter Francia) and "Laughing Matters: Humor and American Politics in the Media Age" (co-edited with Jonathan Morris).
Jonathan S. Morris is associate professor of political science at East Carolina University. Morris is co-editor of "Laughing Matters: Humor and American Politics in the Media Age" (with Jody Baumgartner)."

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Amazon.com: 3.6 out of 5 stars 5 reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed it somewhat 3 Oct. 2014
By Richard Hahn - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I enjoyed it somewhat. I am an old guy now and some of those jokes I actually remember-----however as I love jokes of all types I do think that there was more that the author could have done.

Richard Hahn
Chicago, Il
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars 28 Oct. 2014
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An interesting read.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A serious book about comedy. 25 Aug. 2014
By SInohey - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is a scholarly thesis about the effect of comedy and satire on the political landscape of the country, supported by 3 pages of notes and a 12 page long bibliography. Lichter et al explain their plan and methodology before delving into the material. It is not light fare.
The authors give a history political humor in general but the bulk of the book is about late night TV comedians and their ever growing influence on national politics from the 1960s to this day.
Comedians from Johnny Carson to Jon Stewart et al and their targets - members of congress, presidential candidates, presidents and vice presidents - their quips, punch lines and jokes are presented, analysed and fed into statistical models.
Misbehaving politicians, financial shenanigans, sex scandals and abuse of power are fodder for the comedian's repertoire. But the pervasive influence of money, political power and their incestuous relationship with the main media greatly influences the selective targeting of their prey by late night comedians.

The authors concluded that since 1992, “Republican candidates were joked about more than Democrats” and they gave a few examples from Saturday Night Live and Bill Maher’s Politically Incorrect shows among others; they showed how TV comics spared candidate and President Obama from their barbs but went all out against McCain, Bush and Palin, whom their skewered for their advanced age and their (false) deemed deficient intellect. “Palin attracted nearly as many jokes in four months as Obama did throughout the year”. They give many more such examples and argue that unfair perceptions result from biased satire.
“Research has demonstrated that viewing political humor has an effect on people’s attitudes toward targets of the humor, and on the political system in general” summarizes the results of this extensive academic research of the serious subject of comedy in politics.

After reading all eight chapters, about 220 pages and slogging through statistics, I expected to have to take a test at completion. Packed with information, as an academic thesis it is a very good book; but not so much as a light read. Ironically, “Politics is a joke” is a serious book about a solemn subject that influences the governance of our country.
3.0 out of 5 stars The joke's on us. 4 Aug. 2015
By Nancy Nurse - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Interesting read. However, the real joke is on us to read about how the majority of voters get their primary information about politicians and politics from uninformed and biased late night TV comedians. I believe this segment of the population is vulnerable to propaganda in the form of comedy because modern public school education provides inadequate education in civics and history. History tells us we have always been subjected to propaganda in one form or another; the difference is that an ignorant voting public cannot discern what is and what isn't propaganda.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 16 May 2015
By Thomas - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Great book.
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