The Press Effect: Politicians, Journalists, and the Stories that Shape the Political World

Oxford University Press
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Was the 2000 presidential campaign merely a contest between Pinocchio and Dumbo? And did Dumbo miraculously turn into Abraham Lincoln after the events of September 11? In fact, Kathleen Hall Jamieson and Paul Waldman argue in The Press Effect, these stereotypes, while containing some elements of the truth, represent the failure of the press and the citizenry to engage the most important part of our political process in a critical fashion. Jamieson and Waldman analyze both press coverage and public opinion, using the Annenberg 2000 survey, which interviewed more than 100,000 people, to examine one of the most interesting periods of modern presidential history, from the summer of 2000 through the aftermath of September 11th. How does the press fail us during presidential elections? Jamieson and Waldman show that when political campaigns side-step or refuse to engage the facts of the opposing side, the press often fails to step into the void with the information citizens require to make sense of the political give-and-take. They look at the stories through which we understand political events-examining a number of fabrications that deceived the public about consequential governmental activities-and explore the ways in which political leaders and reporters select the language through which we talk and think about politics, and the relationship between the rhetoric of campaigns and the reality of governance. The Press Effect is, ultimately, a wide-ranging critique of the press's role in mediating between politicians and the citizens they are supposed to serve.
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About the author

Kathleen Hall Jamieson is Elizabeth Ware Packard Professor of Communication at the Annenberg School for Communication and Director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of Packaging the Presidency and Eloquence in an Electronic Age. Paul Waldman is a senior researcher at the Annenberg Public Policy Center. He lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Oxford University Press
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Published on
Nov 14, 2002
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Pages
240
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ISBN
9780199839674
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Language
English
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Genres
Language Arts & Disciplines / Journalism
Performing Arts / General
Political Science / History & Theory
Social Science / Media Studies
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Why do some citizens vote while others do not? Why does less than half of the American voting public routinely show up at the polls? Why is it that the vast majority of political issues affecting our day-to-day lives fail to generate either public interest or understanding? These questions have troubled political scientists for decades. Here, Kathleen Hall Jamieson and Joseph N. Cappella provide the first conclusive evidence to date that it is indeed the manner in which the print and broadcast media cover political events and issues that fuels voter non-participation. This book illustrates precisely how the media's heavy focus on the game of politics, rather than on its substance, starts a "spiral of cynicism" that directly causes an erosion of citizen interest and, ultimately, citizen participation. Having observed voters who watched and read different sets of reports--some saturated in strategy talk, others focused on the real issues--the authors show decisive links between the way in which the media covers campaigns' and voters' levels of cynicism and participation. By closely monitoring media coverage among sample audiences for both the recent mayoral race in Philadelphia and the national health care reform debate, the authors confront issues concerning the effects of issue-based and competitive-based political coverage. Finally, they address the question repeatedly asked by news editors, "Will the public read or watch an alternative media coverage that has more substance?" The answer their findings so clearly reveal is "yes." Spiral of Cynicism is a pioneering work that will urge the media to take a close look at how it covers political events and issues, as well as its degree of culpability in current voter dissatisfaction, cynicism, and non-participation. For, in these pages, a possible cure to such ills is just what Jamieson and Cappella have to offer. Moreover, their work is likely to redefine the terms of the very debate on how politics should be covered in the future.
Since its development shaped by the turmoil of the World Wars and suspicion of new technologies such as film and radio, political communication has become a hybrid field largely devoted to connecting the dots among political rhetoric, politicians and leaders, voters' opinions, and media exposure to better understand how any one aspect can affect the others. In The Oxford Handbook of Political Communication Kate Kenski and Kathleen Hall Jamieson bring together leading scholars, including founders of the field of political communication Elihu Katz, Jay Blumler, Doris Graber, Max McCombs, and Thomas Paterson,to review the major findings about subjects ranging from the effects of political advertising and debates and understandings and misunderstandings of agenda setting, framing, and cultivation to the changing contours of social media use in politics and the functions of the press in a democratic system. The essays in this volume reveal that political communication is a hybrid field with complex ancestry, permeable boundaries, and interests that overlap with those of related fields such as political sociology, public opinion, rhetoric, neuroscience, and the new hybrid on the quad, media psychology. This comprehensive review of the political communication literature is an indispensible reference for scholars and students interested in the study of how, why, when, and with what effect humans make sense of symbolic exchanges about sharing and shared power. The sixty-two chapters in The Oxford Handbook of Political Communication contain an overview of past scholarship while providing critical reflection of its relevance in a changing media landscape and offering agendas for future research and innovation.
Since its development shaped by the turmoil of the World Wars and suspicion of new technologies such as film and radio, political communication has become a hybrid field largely devoted to connecting the dots among political rhetoric, politicians and leaders, voters' opinions, and media exposure to better understand how any one aspect can affect the others. In The Oxford Handbook of Political Communication Kate Kenski and Kathleen Hall Jamieson bring together leading scholars, including founders of the field of political communication Elihu Katz, Jay Blumler, Doris Graber, Max McCombs, and Thomas Paterson,to review the major findings about subjects ranging from the effects of political advertising and debates and understandings and misunderstandings of agenda setting, framing, and cultivation to the changing contours of social media use in politics and the functions of the press in a democratic system. The essays in this volume reveal that political communication is a hybrid field with complex ancestry, permeable boundaries, and interests that overlap with those of related fields such as political sociology, public opinion, rhetoric, neuroscience, and the new hybrid on the quad, media psychology. This comprehensive review of the political communication literature is an indispensible reference for scholars and students interested in the study of how, why, when, and with what effect humans make sense of symbolic exchanges about sharing and shared power. The sixty-two chapters in The Oxford Handbook of Political Communication contain an overview of past scholarship while providing critical reflection of its relevance in a changing media landscape and offering agendas for future research and innovation.
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