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Image Bite Politics: News and the Visual Framing of Elections (Series in Political Psychology) Hardcover – March 2, 2009

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Editorial Reviews


Winner of the 2010 Outstanding Book Award from the International Communication Association!

"This smoothly-written, data-rich book is a powerful reminder of the importance of visual images in politics. The authors' research taps into multiple literatures including communication, psychology, political science and biology to present an extraordinarily well-rounded analysis of visual framing of elections. This unique study is essential reading for anyone who wants to know how political communication actually works during major electoral contests."--Doris Graber, Professor of Political Science, University of Illinois at Chicago

"Scholars and pundits have long acknowledged (and often lamented) the role of image in politics. Yet, systematic studies of image have been rare. This book not only fills that gap, but it also does so with unparalleled substantive and methodological rigor. It is sure to serve as a launching point for an entire field of study on image and politics." --James N. Druckman, Department of Political Science, Northwestern University

"Grabe and Bucy show how visual images convey information and demonstrate the impact images in news coverage inform and move the electorate. Image Bite Politics is thoughtful, carefully wrought, impressive and path breaking."--George E. Marcus, Professor of Political Science, Williams College

"This volume presents an unusually detailed, extensively referenced and thoroughly researched argument for taking the visuals of television news seriously as a source of political information. Cogently and clearly written, it includes a broad sweep of the history of the development of the human eye and the brain in processing visual and verbal information as well as extensive data from four consecutive presidential elections. As such, it breaks with the tradition in most election studies of privileging the word over the image and takes the visual dimension of television more seriously than most scholars of politics have thus far. For those interested in the role of television and visual images in elections and political communication, this is an essential work." --David H. Weaver, Roy W. Howard Professor in Journalism and Mass Communication Research, School of Journalism, Indiana University

"Grabe and Bucy introduce contemporary neuroscience to the analysis of voters' perception and responses to the televised coverage of politics. Because emotional responses are more rapid than cognitive analysis and judgment, this approach shows why theories based on print communication or "rational choice" often fail to describe political life. It's past time that a scientific understanding of non-verbal cues and visual framing are integrated to a comprehensive assessment of television news, campaigns, and the emotional dimension of politics. The result is a book that should become a classic that is required reading throughout the political science discipline (and not just in studies of the role of media in American politics)." --Roger Masters, Research Professor at Dartmouth College, Nelson A. Rockefeller Professor of Government, Emeritus at Dartmouth College and President of the Foundation for Neuroscience and Society

"...Image Bite Politics should be added to the reading list of any media or political
communication scholar. The book's comprehensive and historically oriented literature
review, its in-depth content-analytic research, and its new and fascinating findings all contribute to a blossoming research area within political communication scholarship. This,
coupled with an extremely accessible writing style, demonstrates Grabe and Bucy's ability
to masterfully present compelling research that is useful to communication scholars and
political scientists alike." --Political Communication journal

About the Author

Maria Elizabeth Grabe is Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Telecommunications at Indiana University, Bloomington and a Research Associate of the Department of Political Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa.
Erik Page Bucy is Associate Professor in the Department of Telecommunications and Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and School of Informatics at Indiana University, Bloomington.

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Product Details

  • Series: Series in Political Psychology
  • Hardcover: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (March 2, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195372077
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195372076
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 0.9 x 6.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,536,765 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Image Bite Politics: News and the Visual Framing of Elections" by Maria Grabe and Erik Bucy is a must-read book for anyone interested in understandng the modern media's influence on our political system. This book succeeds for a variety of reasons: First, it incorporates evolutionary theory based insights concerning the primacy of visual processing for emotional response, especially as it relates to political interactions. This point is especially salient as the modern mass (and new) media provide forms of communication that imitate follower-leader interactions humans have evolved to respond to in a near automatic manner. As presented by Grabe and Bucy, the visual frames chosen by the mass media in their coverage of presidential elections have implications for how viewers process information and in turn respond to these potential leaders.

Secondly, the approach used by the authors to test their hypotheses is rigorous and painstakingly fair. Specifically, this content analysis approach, yields reliable and valid insights despite it being time-consuming and laborious, often involving frame-by-frame analysis to ensure precision. Whereas other data collection methods provide useful insights, the content analysis used in this book provides an excellent example of how this rarely used method may be successfully applied to provide incredible insight into the presentation of political news.

Finally, this book breaks new ground substantively by not only showing how visual bias might occur, it also tests popular mythology concerning "liberal media bias." Here Grabe and Bucy consider four general election cycles for the U.S. presidency from 1992-2004, putting commonly held beliefs concerning "liberal media bias" to the test.
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Image Bite Politics: News and the Visual Framing of Elections (Series in Political Psychology)
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