I was watching the following reaction video from The Thick of It.

Which got me thinking: has there been any research (probably meta-research involving other studies) on whether commentary is more persuasive to voters than interviews with political figures, given the same number of views?

If there is no research directly answering this question, are there any related studies or further reading available on and around the subject?

  • 3
    I have nothing to back this up, but yes: Commerary is often littered with ripe sarcasm, enthusiasm, or <insert here> depending on the commentator. Interviews are raw. Guarantee (intelligent) people get more out of Jon Oliver's commentary about the Megyn Kelly / Trump interview than watching the dumbfounding thing itself.
    – Insane
    May 21, 2016 at 22:55

1 Answer 1


Yes, there have been several studies on the impact of commentary; not directly contrasted to interviews, though.

Iyengar, Shanto, and Donald R. Kinder. News that matters: Television and American opinion. University of Chicago Press, 2010. perform experiments and measure the impact of several techniques on the television news, including priming, agenda setting and bias-towards-trivia.

Barker, David, and Kathleen Knight. "Political talk radio and public opinion." Public Opinion Quarterly 64.2 (2000): 149-170. indicates that independent listeners of Rush Limbaugh's show exhibited greater negativity towards the independent candidate Ross Perot. I believe this is the most relevant to your question.

LaMarre, Heather L., Kristen D. Landreville, and Michael A. Beam. "The irony of satire: Political ideology and the motivation to see what you want to see in The Colbert Report." The International Journal of Press/Politics 14.2 (2009): 212-231. does the reverse; identifying how our personal biases impact how we consume political satire.

  • Could you add some more conclusions that these reports and investigations found? Jul 19, 2017 at 16:05
  • If you can summarize this research in a satisfying way, I'd be willing to bounty this. Aug 20, 2017 at 1:21

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