Some satirists believe a chorus of comic monologues can move the political needle with viewers, voters and a not-so-infallible media. For those who don't follow the media closely, satirical shows can hold even greater sway. If Stewart and Colbert and Maher are the ones installing the news in a viewer's mind -- as part of their setup before instilling their humorous slant -- then they're functioning as both messenger and comic massager: a one-stop plug-and-play for the iPod generation. For younger viewers especially, McGruder notes, satire is an inviting environment to get the news bundled with the jokes. The blurring of news and entertainment, comedy and punditry, also contributes to the shift. When news accounts report in earnest that radiohead Rush Limbaugh might have the clout to tilt Hoosiers toward Hillary during a primary, it's not so far-fetched to speculate that a "Saturday Night Live" sketch -- say, one that accuses reporters of going soft on Barack and being harder on Hillary -- also might have a real-world ripple effect.
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