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News That Matters: Television and American Opinion (American Politics and Political Economy Series) Paperback – March 15, 1989

ISBN-13: 978-0226388571 ISBN-10: 0226388573

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Product Details

  • Series: American Politics and Political Economy Series
  • Paperback: 196 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press (March 15, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226388573
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226388571
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6.1 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,163,473 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By ab on April 24, 2004
Format: Paperback
Fairly quick, but vitally important read to anyone studying the media, communication, and politics. Experimental design demonstrates the media has the ability to set the national agenda, prime what people think is important within issues, and frame the way we think about the world. This is the seminal and original work in the field.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By poliscy_phd on July 21, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is a seminal work in political science for both its study of media effects and its use of experimental methodology. In regards to the latter, this is arguably the book that placed experimental methods on "map". In terms of its media findings, it does an outstounding job of documenting agenda-setting and priming effects; also, there is a lot of sub-analysis that nicely details which people are most prone to and what type of coverage enhances such effects. That said, the findings will likely strike many people today as fairly obvious, but this was not the case at the time (a testament to the research agenda I&K established). While the agenda-setting, priming, and now framing research has progressed in the last two decades, this is still an excellent introduction to the topic. And it is a pretty easy and quick read (only 130 pages).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Matthew P. Arsenault on November 16, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The authors contend that television news plays an important role in shaping American public opinion. The logic is that American's develop opinions on many issues, but they often have little personal experience related to those issues. As such, their opinions are based on information provided by other (Zaller 1992 would agree). Today, such information is disseminated through the media, particularly thorough TV. As such, the television has a great deal of power to shape public opinion.

Iyengar and Kinder contend that television news has an "agenda-setting effect," that is, TV news shapes what issues people view as nationally important. "By attending to some problems and ignoring others, television news shapes the American public's political priorities" (pg. 33). However, priority preferences are not static. Rather, they vary with the degree to which the media covers the event.

The authors also contend that stories occurring early in the new broadcast are more influential on the agenda-setting of the public than those occurring in later broadcasts. Still, the authors contend that additional factors play a role in agenda setting. For example, individuals who are personally affected by an issue coved by the media are more susceptible to media agenda-setting. Similarly, the more coverage and issue receives, the more likely citizens are to view that issue as a priority. Again, this parallels much of Zaller's (1992) work on the power of elite discourse.

In regards to demographic data, the authors find that citizens with higher levels of education, stronger feelings of partisanship, and are more politically active are least likely to be influenced by the agenda-setting nature television news coverage.
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