|Stephen Colbert closely analyzes the use of smoking in Cain's campaign ad.|
A teacher could introduce the core concepts and key questions of media literacy by using this video as a model, and having students find where Colbert addresses each question. They could also make their own responses, as Colbert did, or do so in response to other political ads. All this would make for fun and effective media literacy practice.
However, at a certain point, the students should ask about the purpose of the parodies. What do you achieve, and what does Colbert achieve, in the mockery? Does he make political ads seem foolish, or the candidate? Or, does he reinforce Cain's messages through the analysis and parodies? Do the parodies of risk behavior reinforce and celebrate or ridicule and deter such behavior? Is Colbert's only agenda the laughs? Can the students do something more with their own video responses than Colbert did with his?