The Colbert “Bump” in Reverse?
Josh’s previous post was about Steven Colbert’s address before Congress on the topic of immigration. The reaction to Colbert’s testimony has been negative on average; even some Democrats have stated their opposition to Colbert’s statements.
A well known paper by political scientist James Fowler explored a phonomon he termed the “Colbert Bump.” Using FEC data, Fowler found that candidates appearing on the Colbert Report improved their fundraising in the period immediatley after their appearance (though this effect was larger for Democrats than for Republicans). Fowler tempers the signifiancnce of this finding, noting that the methods are far from perfect and that similar trends likely exist with other television shows like Oprah Winfrey’s.
In an interesting turn, Politico has a story today suggesting that lawamakers may be changing their mind about appearing on the show. The gist is that Colbert’s testimony may have underscored the risks of appearing on the Colbert Report. Here is one interesting part, with a nice quote:
“My experience with that show is like herpes. It never goes away, and it itches and sometimes flares up,” said a former aide to Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, after his boss appeared on the show in 2006. The conservative Georgia Republican, co-sponsor of a bill requiring that the Ten Commandments be displayed in Congress, was skewered by Colbert in a segment of “Better Know a District” for appearing to be able to name only three of the commandments.