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.

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 July 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 July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Science & Society News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

Reuters - US Online Video (July 31, 2014) The Republican-led House of Representatives votes to sue President Obama, accusing him of overstepping his executive authority in making changes to the Affordable Care Act. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

AP (July 31, 2014) With Florida's panther population rebounding, some ranchers complain the protected predators are once again killing their calves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

AP (July 30, 2014) British officials said on Wednesday that driverless cars will be tested on roads in as many as three cities in a trial program set to begin in January. Officials said the tests will last up to three years. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
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:
from the past week

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