This makes sense because Colbert was showing, not just telling. By setting up the PAC and 501©(4)s people learned more than if he had just tried to tell about it. The doing, put the learning in context, and then ideas come alive for people. News organizations could do similar things, but sending reporters out to try out new things. This is a standard kind of reporting.
“Watching The Colbert Report not only increased people’s perceptions that they knew more about political financing, but significantly increased their actual knowledge, and did so at a greater rate than other news sources, the study found. Reading daily newspapers, listening to talk radio, and watching Fox News Channel increased knowledge about super PACs and 501©(4)s — but “to a lesser degree,” the study concluded. ”(via Stephen Colbert More Effective Than Journalists At Explaining Campaign Financing, Study Says)