This article takes the mainstream American media coverage of the 2010 rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear as its object of inquiry in order to elucidate the perceived relationship between audiences, ironic news, and civic engagement. Using both participant observation and rhetorical analysis of mainstream media coverage, it crafts a descriptive analysis of the rally's discursive framework. The author argues that whereas the generic hybridity of satiric news has been acknowledged (and celebrated) by scholars for its potential to engage audiences, the hybrid consumer position of the media savvy fan seems to slip convenient tropes used by the mainstream press to describe this cultural practice. The rhetorical conventions and discursive framework used to describe the rally goers not only reveal a deep ambivalence about the capacities of an (emotional) crowd but also indicate cultural anxieties about the future of journalism in the post-network era.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cultural Studies
- Language and Linguistics
- Sociology and Political Science
- Linguistics and Language
- Literature and Literary Theory