For those on the right, sorry, he really is joking.

The Colbert Report recently made science news over the space station naming controversy. Well, unbowed and unbloodied, the “right-wing” “pundit” once again “made the news” – this time showing up on the Huffington Post and elsewhere as a tool. A tool for studying how conservative leanings affect perception of satire:

The International Journal of Press/Politics:
Additionally, there was no significant difference between the groups in thinking Colbert was funny, but conservatives were more likely to report that Colbert only pretends to be joking and genuinely meant what he said while liberals were more likely to report that Colbert used satire and was not serious when offering political statements. Conservatism also significantly predicted perceptions that Colbert disliked liberalism.

In other words…

Huffington Post:
I think a lot of conservatives are going to pissed when they realize that Stephen Colbert’s performance at the 2006 White House Correspondents’ Dinner was not, in fact, an awkward and ineffective attempt to praise President George W. Bush, but actually a bitter and satiric criticism of his incompetence!

This may be another statement of Poe’s Law, which becomes less ha-ha funny and more psychologically intriguing the more you think about it. There are deep links between humor and politics… the ability to laugh and the kind of social contract you make with the world.