Article critique







Article critique


Institution of Affiliation












  1. Which theory is used to guide the research in this article? From what you’ve read about the theory, is this theory appropriate for research? Why or why not?

In the article, Media Subservience and Satirical Subversiveness: The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, The Propaganda Model and the Paradox of Parody, the authors James Anderson and Amie Kincaid utilize the Propaganda Model (PM) as a theory to guide their research.The theory was formulated by Herman and Chomsky in 1988.Based on its application to two television shows namely, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report, one may conclude that this theory, though twenty years old, is still appropriate for research.

Today’s mainstream media may be different from the mainstream media for which the theory was composed, but the 1980s mainstream media and modern mainstream media share a great deal of similarities. The contemporary TV shows used in this research as case studies reveal the partial commonness between traditional and modern mainstream media. The analysis reveal that the two television shows conform to the concepts of propaganda model, though with some few unique aspects.

The PM argues that the role of the media in creating and disseminating propagandais intensified by five factors. These factors include:

“(1) corporate concentration and profit orientation, advertise; (2) advertising as the major source of revenue; (3) reliance on governmental and big business sources with presumed credibility; (4) flak as a disciplinary measure for news that oversteps doctrinal bounds; and (5) the dominant ideology tied to unquestioned conventional pieties” (Kincaid & Anderson, 2013, p.173)

With these tenets, or rather basis of research, one may conduct a media-related research to predict, test and confirm media subservience to power or todetermine the role the media plays in creating and disseminating propaganda fueled by powerful forces.

  1. What does this article bring to the theory? Or, in other words, how does it move the theory forward and apply it to a more modern issue? How does it build upon the theory?

Kincaid & Anderson’s (2013) article applies the theory to a rather unconventional media, thereby extending PM’s use beyond the established media. Unlike other studies, the research focusses on two television shows as opposed to a media group, as a whole.Moreover, the two television shows used in this research are comedic in nature and their content is ‘fake’. In most research, the PM model has been applied to media houses and shows with ‘real’ news.

Kincaid & Anderson (2013) examines how the content disseminated through the The Daily Show with Jon Stewart(TDS) and The Colbert Report(TCR) comedy shows relate to the propaganda model. The two comedy showscan be seen as new facets of the modern media, given their high public following and complex production. Unlike mainstream media, they cover sensitive governance issues by stereotyping things and making the coverage humorous. In so doing, they deliver their pro-democracy or anti-democracy propaganda without attracting the attention of regulatory bodies. They operate within institutional bounds and enlighten the public using means that cannot be used in mainstream media without attracting punitive actions. However, they are still driven by factors in the Propaganda Model.

The very nature of contemporary media such as the television shows used in this research compel Kincaid& Anderson (2013) to formulate a new term for them. The new term, “democomedicratic” is coined to represent satire-mediated shows and media that are “somewhat counter-propagandistic and potential democracy-promoting” (Kincaid &Anderson ,2013, p.185). The term was coined after the research found the nature of the two television shows diverting somehow from the descriptions available in the propaganda model.



  1. Concisely, summarize the findings of this article

The article can be summarized based on the analysis done on TDS and TCR using the five tenets of PM.

The two shows are disseminated via PM’s admonished institutional structure. They are distributed through a cable station’ Comedy Central’belonging to a commercial conglomerate ‘Viacom’.It is therefore subject to corporate power. While the comedy threatens the power structure, it also reaffirms state and corporate ideologies and status quo. The shows reference figures and concepts that reaffirm the legitimacy of government’s power. One of the instances where the media conforms to propaganda model forecast is where Colbert interviews a guest about Obama being a communist or capitalist. The discussion came at a time when economic injustices were on the rise. Thus, the discussion create a risk of “re-instilling” a “reality-deficient” claim (Kincaid & Anderson, 2013, p.178). The shows were also found to propagandize as a result of fear of plak, just like other ‘real’ news media. During an interview between OliverandStewart, Oliver brings to light a hypocritical contradiction when he describes Stewart’s show as lamestream media.

In some instances, the shows seem to critiquegovernance issues comically. In a TCR episode, Colbert describes a recently passed health bill as “disasportunity” and mocks the initiative using satirical specificity, as a comic strategy. Colbert is also seen critiquing the diversionary coverage in mainstream media when he shows fascination with Ricky Martin’s sexual preference among other issues with inherent civil irrelevancy.  In another instance, Stewart drops reading some news about president’s visit to Afghanistan, and instead covers a story on a “bondage-themed strip club scandal at the Republican National Convention”(Kincaid & Anderson, 2013, p.180).In demonstrating these aspects, the shows fall victim to issues admonished in the PM. As stated by Kincaid & Anderson (2013), the comedy shows largely conform to the prediction of the PM, but theyenlighten the public on matters pertaining to democracy.

Concisely, the two satire-mediated shows propagandizes and enlightens the public, and per se, they are described as ‘democomedicratic’ – democratic and comedic.























James Anderson & Amie D. Kincaid (2013) Media Subservience and
Satirical Subversiveness: The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, The Propaganda Modeland the Paradox of Parody, Critical Studies in Media Communication, 30:3, 171-188, DOI:10.1080/15295036.2013.771276

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