Satire, according to my trusted friend the OED, is: “A thing, fact, or circumstance that has the effect of making some person or thing ridiculous….in which prevailing vices or follies are held up to ridicule.”
According to Don Waisanen, satire poses as a threat to politicians by “primarily attacking substance rather than style.”
It can be used a weapon to attract and maintain an audience – a danger at times. “In some cases, we find [audiences] learn more about the issues. In other cases, we find they don’t understand the sarcasm or satire, and so they come away misinformed.”
Of course there are the late-night shows, The Onion, The New Yorker cartoons, etc… — but those sources are known as comedy producing media. A person seeking out an Onion article expects satire. Jon Stewart can leave a viewer misinformed if a joke is not-properly understood, but how often is a naïve viewer tuning into Jon Stewart hoping to be informed? His audience comprises those who know he is joking.
The danger of satire seems then to lie in the realm of the viral world – videos on YouTube – and in campaigns and media rooms themselves when credible people try to crack jokes… take this story from the NYTimes about a Politico article.