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"I can see Russia from my house": Tina Fey's impersonation of Sarah Palin as a template for media coverage in the 2008 presidential election
Dean, Heather A
Goerhing, ChuckMcClish, Glen
Political humor is a major component of the election system in the United States. Politicians often struggle to escape the quick wits of a satirist or the ironic portrayals of themselves conducted through impersonations. While political comedy is nothing new, the 2008 presidential election ushered in new potential for political humorists with the nomination of Sarah Palin as the Republican vice presidential candidate. Following Palin's nomination, Tina Fey began performing impersonations of Palin regularly on Saturday Night Live. Fey's impersonations of Palin immediately sparked controversy and discussion amongst the media. Major media outlets reported on the impersonation, heavily examined it, used it as a reference point for more serious political discussions, and debated over its effect on audiences; CNN even coined the phrase "Tina Fey Effect" during this time. By integrating Meyer's rhetorical functions of humor, an analysis of the media's reaction to Tina Fey's impersonation of Sarah Palin will reveal the power and impact of this impersonation. In addition, this analysis will develop a more coherent and extensive knowledge regarding impersonations, humor as a rhetorical devise, political comedy, SNL, and the media's interpretation of entertaining political shows.
Professional Studies and Fine Arts
Master of Arts (M.A.) San Diego State University, 2010
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