Colbert viewers learned more about super PACs than news-junkies


In Stephen Colbert's Civics Lesson: How Colbert Super PAC Taught Viewers About Campaign Finance in Mass Communication and Society [paywalled], a study by researchers at the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, scholars surveyed people whose knowledge of campaign finance issues came from watching The Colbert Report's segments on super PACs. They concluded that, when compared to people who learned about campaign finance from traditional news sources (as opposed to a satirical program), Colbert viewers had a better grasp of the issues, thanks to the satirical structure and the use of narrative. The study specifically calls out the traditional reporterly convention of the "inverted pyramid" as a poor way to capture interest and convey nuance to an audience.

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Orphan Black turns into a high-stakes comedy of errors this week [S2E7]

Caroleine Siede reviews the latest episode of the BBC’s clone drama

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Trailer for Steven Johnson's new PBS series, "How We Got to Now"

Steven Johnson -- a real favorite around here! -- has a new six-part PBS show coming this October called How We Got to Now, along with companion book. The trailer (above) gives a tantalizing hint of how great this show will be, as does the excerpt from the first episode that's also available. (Thanks, Steven!)

Game Of Thrones opens a Moon Door [Recap: s4e7]

Echoes of Tyrion’s past are about to collide in the present. Kevin McFarland reviews the latest episode of Thrones, where the dwarf’s uncertain doom approaches.

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Silicon Valley's heroes get their chance to Disrupt [s1e7]

It’s crunch time for the show’s heroes, but Kevin McFarland finds that some of the humor in Silicon Valley lacks bite.

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Hannibal sets the table for the season finale [s2e12]

A classic moment from the Lecter legendarium hits the small screen. Theresa deLucci reviews the latest episode.

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The nature vs. nurture question looms in Orphan Black [s2e5]

Caroline Siede on the latest episode of the BBC’s clone drama

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Complete Prisoner scripts - and more!

Zack writes, "Here's a collection of PDFs of ALL the original scripts to Patrick McGoohan's surreal cult classic, along with several unmade scripts and several multiple drafts of episodes. It's the next-best-thing to being in The Village, minus the brainwashing and evil weather balloons." Cory 8

The Laws Of God And Men ring cold in Game of Thrones [s4e6]

Peter Dinklage delivers the speech of the season as Tyrion Lannister, facing the false justice of the kingdom–and his family. Kevin McFarland reviews the latest episode of Game of Thrones.

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Satanists, teen coders, and robot cars hit Silicon Valley [s1e6]

Silicon Valley takes aim at the emotional insecurity behind superficial male genius, writes Kevin McFarland. But it also fails to escape stereotypes about women in the tech industry.

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Orphan Black: Governed As It Were By Chance [s2e4]

Caroline Seide recaps the latest episode of the BBC’s clone drama; the season’s fourth outing heads into unsettling territory.

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The Return of Sailor Moon

The fans are grown up, but the spirit only grows. Liz Ohanesian on the imminent reboot of America’s gateway drug to anime.

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The truth of Game Of Thrones’ inciting incident has been revealed [Recap: season 4, episode 5]

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AND SO, TIME marches on. Joffrey Baratheon is no more, and Tommen, “First Of His Name,” owner of the cuddly Ser Pounce, rises to take his place on the throne. But he’s just a boy, able to be pushed around by the blustering of his advisors and those who seek to gain power in King’s Landing. Tywin has Tommen’s ear—especially after that birds and bees talk—and Margaery has her secret visits, but according to Olenna Tyrell, she’ll have to out-maneuver Cersei to finally secure her place beside the Iron Throne as Queen.

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Graphic hilarity ensues when Silicon Valley ventures to East Palo Alto [Recap: season 1, episode 5]

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Did you catch it? It’s a moment I’ve been waiting for Silicon Valley to address in some capacity—the divide between the tech corporations in Palo Alto and the blighted district to the south. (East Palo Alto is a misnomer—EPA is bordered by Menlo Park to the west and Palo Alto to the south.) The first four episodes of Silicon Valley have attempted to subtly insert regional details about the Peninsula into the dialogue of the show, which has always made the Bay Area kid in me beam. Episodes have referenced Sand Hill Road, which is the exit off highway 280 that leads right to the Stanford University campus (dotted with venture capital firms all the way down) and other geographical details that make the series feel lived-in. But tonight, in the opening scene between Erlich and popular graffiti artist Chuy Rodriguez, in a neighborhood referenced as high-crime and which clearly makes Dinesh uncomfortable, Erlich obliquely refers to their location.

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'Orphan Black': Mingling Its Own Nature With It [TV recap, S2E3]

Goodbye Big Dick Paul, hello hopefully equally well-endowed Cal! Orphan Black introduces a new character this week and he adds a jolt of energy to an episode that otherwise slows things way down and examines what makes its characters tick.

Until the last five minutes of this episode (more on those later) very little actually happens in “Mingling Its Own Nature With It.” Sarah, Felix, and Kira break into a cabin and Sarah reunites with the aforementioned Cal; Kira intuits that Cal is her father; Alison hits a new low at the opening of her musical; Cosima learns a tad more about her illness; and Helena eats some food with the Proletheans. After two action-packed weeks, Orphan Black eases up on the plot and switches into character-drama mode instead. The result is deeply satisfying, even if the episode feels a bit uneven at times.

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