The Psychology of Media and Politics

1st Edition

Print ISBN: 9780123992062
eBook ISBN: 9780080454252
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 14th April 2005
Page Count: 328
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Research indicates that people discount their own opinions and experiences in favor of those of "experts" as espoused in the media. The framing of news coverage thus has a profound impact on public opinion, and political decision making as a response to public outcry. However, the choice of how to frame the news is typically made to solicit viewership and high ratings rather than to convey accurate and meaningful information. This book discusses why people discount their own opinions, how the media shapes the news, when this drives political decision making, and what the effect is on the future of society.

Issues addressed include:

  • How powerful are the media in shaping political beliefs/judgment?
  • How has this power changed in recent years?
  • How does media influence voting behavior?
  • To what extent do media opinions affect political decision making?

Key Features

  • Demonstrates the ways in which the media both constrain and facilitate democratic participation
  • Provides insight into why individuals have varying levels of attention to and interest in politics
  • Discusses such issues as political advertising, polls, debates, and journalists' pursuit of scandal
  • Describes why only some Americans turn out to vote in prominent elections.
  • Offers a model of personal- versus social-level influences that extends beyond politics into other important topic areas
  • Brings together research and theories from the fields of Communication, Psychology, and Political Science
  • Reviews hundreds of key sources, both historical and contemporary


Advanced undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty members studying media and politics; students and researchers in political communication, political science, and political psychology fields; students and researchers in communication and psychology.

Table of Contents

The Psychology of Media and Politics George Comstock and Erica Scharrer

Preface Acknowledgements

Part I Early Knowledge

Chapter I – Conventional Wisdom Chapter II – Necessary Corrections

Part II Press and Public

Chapter III – The New Media Chapter IV – The Goods Chapter V – Heterogeneous Faces

Part III The Collective Self

Chapter VI – Using the Media Chapter VII – Beyond Politics

References Epilogue Author Index Subject Index


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"...a compendium of often interesting theories, studies, and typologies." --Stuart Fischoff for PsycCRITIQUES - Volume 51, Issue 46