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Spiral of Cynicism: The Press and the Public Good Paperback – May 1, 1997

ISBN-13: 978-0195090642 ISBN-10: 0195090640 Edition: First Edition

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; First Edition edition (May 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195090640
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195090642
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,237,228 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

According to Joseph Capella and Kathleen Jamieson, the political climate in the United States has come to resemble a traveling circus, full of glitter and hype, yet dreadfully short on content or real-life relevance. This perception has led to an unprecedented level of cynicism by the populace and a general mistrust of politicians and their motives. In Spiral of Cynicism: The Press and the Public Good, the authors hold the media accountable for much of the public's apathy because of the manner in which it perpetuates the style over substance approach, emphasizing sound-bites and flash rather than an objective study of the issues. Relying heavily on copious statistics gleaned from three in-depth experiments, the authors use complex charts and graphs to trace the origin and rise of voter cynicism. By comparing citizens' reaction to strategy talk versus balanced coverage of pertinent issues and facts, the authors conclude that the media should look closely at its methods of coverage and take responsibility for contributing to this pervasive negativity.

From Booklist

Jamieson, dean of the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Pennsylvania and a frequent TV news guest expert, and Cappella, a professor at the school as well, focus on "news frames," particularly the "strategic news frame" central to much political reporting: "an organized set of assumptions that imply and often explicitly state that leaders are self-interested to the exclusion of the public good, that their votes can be swayed by monied or special interests that do not serve their constituents' ends, and that they are dishonest about what they are trying to accomplish and driven privately by a desire to stay in power." The authors tested the effect of this frame (versus an issue-oriented one) in a Philadelphia mayoral election and in the national debate over health-care reform: in Philly, the strategic frame increased cynicism about both the candidates and the media; in the health-care debate, the media's strategic frame defined the surveyed voters' understanding of why reform failed. Mary Carroll --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 12, 2001
Format: Paperback
A compilation of a number of experimental studies on the impact of the framing effects of news. The authors point out that political news nowadays uses mostly the strategic frame - focus on strategies of actors - rather than issue frame - focus on substantive aspects of the issues. And the authors try to test if the use of strategic frame would lead to enhanced cynicism.
The findings of the experiments are actually not very clear-cut, at least not clear-cut than what the authors said in the book. But the book contains very good discussions about the likely impact of news on cynicism, definition of cynicism vs. skepticism, the nature of framing effects etc.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Beau Dure on June 25, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Not as accessible as other books in the journalism reform genre (in other words, a little stat-heavy), but it provides a good framework for discussion. Anyone who thinks cynicism and journalism MUST go hand in hand should read this for a refutation and perhaps a few ideas of how to take the journalist's natural *skepticism* (which is very different) and use it a healthy manner.
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