How the News Media Fail American Voters: Causes, Consequences, and Remedies / Edition 1

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Overview

It is often noted that the public is frustrated with the news media. But what do American voters really think about how the media present political information? While studies have examined how the news shapes opinions as well as what people respond to and remember, this is the first book to provide an in-depth analysis of how voters use and evaluate the news media in political elections and the impact these trends have on their use of the news.

Kenneth Dautrich and Thomas H. Hartley performed a four-wave national panel survey of voters during the 1996 presidential campaign. They found that although voters are profoundly dissatisfied with the usefulness of news in helping them make decisions, they are unlikely to stop using the news media or switch media (from network news to public broadcasting, for instance). Thus the media have little incentive to adjust to the needs or wishes of voters.

Here is an important contribution to the debate about the responsibilities of the news media raging among pundits and policymakers.

Columbia University Press

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What People Are Saying

Gerald M. Pomper

Dautrich and Hartley have written a very important book on te relationship of the mass media and public opinion. Their analysis of the public impact and voter evaluation of the media reverses the typical focus of past scholarship, making this work unique. Combining sophisticated methodology and an original perspective, they raise vital questions about the problems of American democracy.

Gerald M. Pomper, Eagleton Institute of Politics, Rutgers University, author of The Election of 1996.

Scott Keeter

A richly detailed portrait of how Americans followed the 1996 elections in the media, what biases they perceived in the coverage, how useful they found it, and how they rated the media's performance.

Scott Keeter, coauthor of What Americans Know about Politics and Why It Matters

W. Russell Neuman

If the commercial news media are so inclined to give the audience what they want, how is it that the news audience so seldom gets what it needs? That is the paradox that motivates Dautrich and Hartley's thoughtful new study of the 1996 election. Using fresh panel data from the Media Studies Center and the University of Connecticut, the authors probe the depths of public dissatisfaction and persistent concern abou media bias.

W. Russell Neuman, Coauthor of The Guardian Knot: Political Gridlock on the Information Highway.

Gerald M. Pomper

Dautrich and Hartley have written a very important book on te relationship of the mass media and public opinion. Their analysis of the public impact and voter evaluation of the media reverses the typical focus of past scholarship, making this work unique. Combining sophisticated methodology and an original perspective, they raise vital questions about the problems of American democracy.

Scott Keeter

A richly detailed portrait of how Americans followed the 1996 elections in the media, what biases they perceived in the coverage, how useful they found it, and how they rated the media's performance.

W. Russell Neuman

If the commercial news media are so inclined to give the audience what they want, how is it that the news audience so seldom gets what it needs? That is the paradox that motivates Dautrich and Hartley's thoughtful new study of the 1996 election. Using fresh panel data from the Media Studies Center and the University of Connecticut, the authors probe the depths of public dissatisfaction and persistent concern abou media bias.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Kenneth Dautrich is director of the Graduate Program in Survey Research at the University of Connecticut, where he is an assistant professor of political science. Thomas H. Hartley is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Connecticut.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

1 Campaigns Are Unthinkable, Save in Terms of the News Media2 Media Use in the 1996 Campaign3 Explaining Media Use4 Scratching the Surface: Overall Ratings of Election Coverage5 Tilting Left: Perceptions of Political Bias in Election Coverage6 Evaluations of News Content and News Sources7 The Consequences of Poor Media PerformanceChapter 8 Conclusion

Columbia University Press

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