Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

American politicians have less influence through news media, study finds

Date:
September 8, 2011
Source:
Michigan State University
Summary:
News coverage of Washington politicians and their rhetoric appears to have less influence on the American public compared to other news coverage, according to a study by a political scientist.

News coverage of Washington politicians and their rhetoric appears to have less influence on the American public compared to other news coverage, according to a study by a Michigan State University political scientist.

Related Articles


Instead, citizens are more apt to be swayed by news stories about grassroots protests and local events, said Corwin Smidt, assistant professor of political science. His study appears in the research journal Public Opinion Quarterly.

"What this says is that maybe politicians can't use the bully pulpit to influence public opinion through the news media as much as many people thought they could," Smidt said.

Smidt studied media coverage of two national issues -- gun control in 2000 and health care reform and 2009 -- and in both cases found that stories focusing on Washington debate had little to no effect on public opinion polls. There could be myriad reasons for this, he said, including oversaturation of Washington news via 24-hour news channels and the Internet.

But news coverage of protests seemed to strike a chord. For example, coverage of the Million Mom March in 2000, designed to rally support for stricter gun-ownership laws, was highly influential in shaping the public agenda, according to the study.

News stories chronicling high-profile gun crimes also were influential in opinion polls, although less so than protests, the study found.

As a political scientist, Smidt said he didn't look at why the news media covered certain stories, but rather how the public reacted. While some believe the news media sets the public agenda, he said that may not necessarily be the case.

"The news media are still the gatekeepers -- in that if they don't cover something we probably won't hear about it -- but everything they cover does not have the same effect," Smidt said. "It actually may be the storyline within the news that provokes opinion."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Michigan State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Corwin D. Smidt. Not All News Is the Same: Protests, Presidents, and the Mass Public Agenda. Public Opinion Quarterly, 2011; DOI: 10.1093/poq/nfr019

Cite This Page:

Michigan State University. "American politicians have less influence through news media, study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 September 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110908104003.htm>.
Michigan State University. (2011, September 8). American politicians have less influence through news media, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110908104003.htm
Michigan State University. "American politicians have less influence through news media, study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110908104003.htm (accessed October 31, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Friday, October 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Fauci Says Ebola Risk in US "essentially Zero"

Fauci Says Ebola Risk in US "essentially Zero"

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) NIAID Director Anthony Fauci said the risk of Ebola becoming an epidemic in the U.S. is essentially zero Thursday at the Washington Ideas Forum. He also said an Ebola vaccine will be tested in West Africa in the next few months. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Killer History on Display at Museum of Death

Killer History on Display at Museum of Death

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) Visitors take a trip down murderer memory lane at the Museum of Death located in the heart of Hollywood. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nurse Defies Ebola Quarantine With Bike Ride

Nurse Defies Ebola Quarantine With Bike Ride

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) A nurse who vowed to defy Maine's voluntary quarantine for health care workers who treated Ebola patients followed through on her promise Thursday, leaving her home for an hour-long bike ride. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ban On Wearable Cameras In Movie Theaters Surprises No One

Ban On Wearable Cameras In Movie Theaters Surprises No One

Newsy (Oct. 30, 2014) The Motion Picture Association of America and the National Association of Theatre Owners now prohibit wearable cameras such as Google Glass. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins