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. The Psychology of Media and Politics 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?
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
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
George Comstock earned his Ph.D. at Stanford University. He currently is the S.I. Newhouse Professor at the School of Public Communication, Syracuse University in the Television-Radio-Film Department. He is the author of Television and the American Child and was the senior author of the original Television and Human Behavior.Professor Comstock is a social psychologist and expert on the social effects of mass media. He is former science advisor and senior research coordinator of U.S. Surgeon General's Scientific Advisory Committee on Television and Social Behavior. Professor Comstock teaches classes insocial effects of television and communication research methods.
Affiliations and Expertise
Syracuse University, New York, U.S.A.
Erica Scharrer is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at University of Massachusetts and studies media content, opinions about media, and media influence.