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How Partisan Media Polarize America

How Partisan Media Polarize America Author Matthew Levendusky
ISBN-10 9780226069159
Release 2013-09-05
Pages 208
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Forty years ago, viewers who wanted to watch the news could only choose from among the major broadcast networks, all of which presented the same news without any particular point of view. Today we have a much broader array of choices, including cable channels offering a partisan take. With partisan programs gaining in popularity, some argue that they are polarizing American politics, while others counter that only a tiny portion of the population watches such programs and that their viewers tend to already hold similar beliefs. In How Partisan Media Polarize America, Matthew Levendusky confirms—but also qualifies—both of these claims. Drawing on experiments and survey data, he shows that Americans who watch partisan programming do become more certain of their beliefs and less willing to weigh the merits of opposing views or to compromise. And while only a small segment of the American population watches partisan media programs, those who do tend to be more politically engaged, and their effects on national politics are therefore far-reaching. In a time when politics seem doomed to partisan discord, How Partisan Media Polarize America offers a much-needed clarification of the role partisan media might play.



Changing Minds or Changing Channels

Changing Minds or Changing Channels Author Kevin Arceneaux
ISBN-10 9780226047447
Release 2013-08-27
Pages 224
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We live in an age of media saturation, where with a few clicks of the remote—or mouse—we can tune in to programming where the facts fit our ideological predispositions. But what are the political consequences of this vast landscape of media choice? Partisan news has been roundly castigated for reinforcing prior beliefs and contributing to the highly polarized political environment we have today, but there is little evidence to support this claim, and much of what we know about the impact of news media come from studies that were conducted at a time when viewers chose from among six channels rather than scores. Through a series of innovative experiments, Kevin Arceneaux and Martin Johnson show that such criticism is unfounded. Americans who watch cable news are already polarized, and their exposure to partisan programming of their choice has little influence on their political positions. In fact, the opposite is true: viewers become more polarized when forced to watch programming that opposes their beliefs. A much more troubling consequence of the ever-expanding media environment, the authors show, is that it has allowed people to tune out the news: the four top-rated partisan news programs draw a mere three percent of the total number of people watching television. Overturning much of the conventional wisdom, Changing Minds or Changing Channels? demonstrate that the strong effects of media exposure found in past research are simply not applicable in today’s more saturated media landscape.



Information and American Democracy

Information and American Democracy Author Bruce Bimber
ISBN-10 0521804922
Release 2003-02-24
Pages 268
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This book assesses the consequences of new information technologies for American democracy in a way that is theoretical and also historically grounded. The author argues that new technologies have produced the fourth in a series of 'information revolutions' in the US, stretching back to the founding. Each of these, he argues, led to important structural changes in politics. After re-interpreting historical American political development from the perspective of evolving characteristics of information and political communications, the author evaluates effects of the Internet and related new media. The analysis shows that the use of new technologies is contributing to 'post-bureaucratic' political organization and fundamental changes in the structure of political interests. The author's conclusions tie together scholarship on parties, interest groups, bureaucracy, collective action, and political behavior with new theory and evidence about politics in the information age.



Authoritarianism and Polarization in American Politics

Authoritarianism and Polarization in American Politics Author Marc J. Hetherington
ISBN-10 9781139481007
Release 2009-08-24
Pages
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Although politics at the elite level has been polarized for some time, a scholarly controversy has raged over whether ordinary Americans are polarized. This book argues that they are and that the reason is growing polarization of worldviews - what guides people's view of right and wrong and good and evil. These differences in worldview are rooted in what Marc J. Hetherington and Jonathan D. Weiler describe as authoritarianism. They show that differences of opinion concerning the most provocative issues on the contemporary issue agenda - about race, gay marriage, illegal immigration, and the use of force to resolve security problems - reflect differences in individuals' levels of authoritarianism. Events and strategic political decisions have conspired to make all these considerations more salient. The authors demonstrate that the left and the right have coalesced around these opposing worldviews, which has provided politics with more incandescent hues than before.



When the Press Fails

When the Press Fails Author W. Lance Bennett
ISBN-10 9780226042862
Release 2008-09-15
Pages 278
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A sobering look at the intimate relationship between political power and the news media, When the Press Fails argues the dependence of reporters on official sources disastrously thwarts coverage of dissenting voices from outside the Beltway. The result is both an indictment of official spin and an urgent call to action that questions why the mainstream press failed to challenge the Bush administration’s arguments for an invasion of Iraq or to illuminate administration policies underlying the Abu Ghraib controversy. Drawing on revealing interviews with Washington insiders and analysis of content from major news outlets, the authors illustrate the media’s unilateral surrender to White House spin whenever oppositional voices elsewhere in government fall silent. Contrasting these grave failures with the refreshingly critical reporting on Hurricane Katrina—a rare event that caught officials off guard, enabling journalists to enter a no-spin zone—When the Press Fails concludes by proposing new practices to reduce reporters’ dependence on power. “The hand-in-glove relationship of the U.S. media with the White House is mercilessly exposed in this determined and disheartening study that repeatedly reveals how the press has toed the official line at those moments when its independence was most needed.”—George Pendle, Financial Times “Bennett, Lawrence, and Livingston are indisputably right about the news media’s dereliction in covering the administration’s campaign to take the nation to war against Iraq.”—Don Wycliff, Chicago Tribune “[This] analysis of the weaknesses of Washington journalism deserves close attention.”—Russell Baker, New York Review of Books



Making Sense of Media and Politics

Making Sense of Media and Politics Author Gadi Wolfsfeld
ISBN-10 9781136887673
Release 2011-06-23
Pages 160
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Politics is above all a contest, and the news media are the central arena for viewing that competition. One of the central concerns of political communication has to do with the myriad ways in which politics has an impact on the news media and the equally diverse ways in which the media influences politics. Both of these aspects in turn weigh heavily on the effects such political communication has on mass citizens. In Making Sense of Media and Politics, Gadi Wolfsfeld introduces readers to the most important concepts that serve as a framework for examining the interrelationship of media and politics: political power can usually be translated into power over the news media when authorities lose control over the political environment they also lose control over the news there is no such thing as objective journalism (nor can there be) the media are dedicated more than anything else to telling a good story the most important effects of the news media on citizens tend to be unintentional and unnoticed. By identifying these five key principles of political communication, the author examines those who package and send political messages, those who transform political messages into news, and the effect all this has on citizens. The result is a brief, engaging guide to help make sense of the wider world of media and politics and an essential companion to more in-depths studies of the field.



Fox News and American Politics

Fox News and American Politics Author Dan Cassino
ISBN-10 9781317479994
Release 2016-04-14
Pages 216
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In recent years, scholars have argued that the ability of people to choose which channel they want to watch means that television news is just preaching to the choir, and doesn’t change any minds. However, this book shows that the media still has an enormous direct impact on American society and politics. While past research has emphasized the indirect effects of media content on attitudes – through priming or framing, for instance – Dan Cassino argues that past data on both the public opinion and the media side wasn’t detailed enough to uncover it. Using a combination of original national surveys, large scale content analysis of news coverage along with data sets as disparate as FBI gun background checks and campaign contribution records, Cassino discusses why it’s important to treat different media sources separately, estimating levels of ideological bias for television media sources as well as the differences in the topics that the various media sources cover. Taking this into account proves that exposure to some media sources can serve to actually make Americans less knowledgeable about current affairs, and more likely to buy into conspiracy theories. Even in an era of declining viewership, the media – especially Fox News – are shaping our society and our politics. This book documents how this is happening, and shows the consequences for Americans. The quality of journalism is more than an academic question: when coverage focuses on questionable topics, or political bias, there are consequences.



The Partisan Sort

The Partisan Sort Author Matthew Levendusky
ISBN-10 9780226473673
Release 2009-12-15
Pages 200
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As Washington elites drifted toward ideological poles over the past few decades, did ordinary Americans follow their lead? In The Partisan Sort, Matthew Levendusky reveals that we have responded to this trend—but not, for the most part, by becoming more extreme ourselves. While polarization has filtered down to a small minority of voters, it also has had the more significant effect of reconfiguring the way we sort ourselves into political parties. In a marked realignment since the 1970s—when partisan affiliation did not depend on ideology and both major parties had strong liberal and conservative factions—liberals today overwhelmingly identify with Democrats, as conservatives do with Republicans. This “sorting,” Levendusky contends, results directly from the increasingly polarized terms in which political leaders define their parties. Exploring its far-reaching implications for the American political landscape, he demonstrates that sorting makes voters more loyally partisan, allowing campaigns to focus more attention on mobilizing committed supporters. Ultimately, Levendusky concludes, this new link between party and ideology represents a sea change in American politics.



From Politics to the Pews

From Politics to the Pews Author Michele F. Margolis
ISBN-10 9780226555812
Release 2018-08-17
Pages 336
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One of the most substantial divides in American politics is the “God gap.” Religious voters tend to identify with and support the Republican Party, while secular voters generally support the Democratic Party. Conventional wisdom suggests that religious differences between Republicans and Democrats have produced this gap, with voters sorting themselves into the party that best represents their religious views. Michele F. Margolis offers a bold challenge to the conventional wisdom, arguing that the relationship between religion and politics is far from a one-way street that starts in the church and ends at the ballot box. Margolis contends that political identity has a profound effect on social identity, including religion. Whether a person chooses to identify as religious and the extent of their involvement in a religious community are, in part, a response to political surroundings. In today’s climate of political polarization, partisan actors also help reinforce the relationship between religion and politics, as Democratic and Republican elites stake out divergent positions on moral issues and use religious faith to varying degrees when reaching out to voters.



Post Racial or Most Racial

Post Racial or Most Racial Author Michael Tesler
ISBN-10 9780226353159
Release 2016-04-04
Pages 272
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When Barack Obama won the presidency, many posited that we were entering into a post-racial period in American politics. Regrettably, the reality hasn’t lived up to that expectation. Instead, Americans’ political beliefs have become significantly more polarized by racial considerations than they had been before Obama’s presidency—in spite of his administration’s considerable efforts to neutralize the political impact of race. Michael Tesler shows how, in the years that followed the 2008 election—a presidential election more polarized by racial attitudes than any other in modern times—racial considerations have come increasingly to influence many aspects of political decision making. These range from people’s evaluations of prominent politicians and the parties to issues seemingly unrelated to race like assessments of public policy or objective economic conditions. Some people even displayed more positive feelings toward Obama’s dog, Bo, when they were told he belonged to Ted Kennedy. More broadly, Tesler argues that the rapidly intensifying influence of race in American politics is driving the polarizing partisan divide and the vitriolic atmosphere that has come to characterize American politics. One of the most important books on American racial politics in recent years, Post-Racial or Most-Racial? is required reading for anyone wishing to understand what has happened in the United States during Obama’s presidency and how it might shape the country long after he leaves office.



Niche News

Niche News Author Natalie Jomini Stroud
ISBN-10 9780199755509
Release 2011-05-09
Pages 257
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Fox News, MSNBC, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Rush Limbaugh Show, National Public Radio--with so many options, where do people turn for news? In Niche News, Natalie Stroud investigates how people navigate these choices and the political implications that their choice ultimately entails. By combining an analysis of the various news formats that citizens rely on with innovative surveys and experiments, she offers the most comprehensive look to date at the extent to which partisanship influences our media selections. At the heart of Niche News is the concept of "partisan selective exposure," a behavior that leads individuals to select news sources that match their own views. This phenomenon helps explain the political forces at work behind media consumption. Just as importantly, she finds that selective exposure also influences how average citizens engage with politics in general. On one hand, citizens may become increasingly divided as a result of using media that coheres with their political beliefs; on the other hand, partisan selective exposure may encourage participation. Ultimately, Stroud reveals just how intimately connected the mainstream media and the world of politics really are, a conclusion with significant implications for the practice of American democracy.



Beyond Ideology

Beyond Ideology Author Frances E. Lee
ISBN-10 9780226470771
Release 2009-12-15
Pages 264
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The congressional agenda, Frances Lee contends, includes many issues about which liberals and conservatives generally agree. Even over these matters, though, Democratic and Republican senators tend to fight with each other. What explains this discord? Beyond Ideology argues that many partisan battles are rooted in competition for power rather than disagreement over the rightful role of government. The first book to systematically distinguish Senate disputes centering on ideological questions from the large proportion of them that do not, this volume foregrounds the role of power struggle in partisan conflict. Presidential leadership, for example, inherently polarizes legislators who can influence public opinion of the president and his party by how they handle his agenda. Senators also exploit good government measures and floor debate to embarrass opponents and burnish their own party’s image—even when the issues involved are broadly supported or low-stakes. Moreover, Lee contends, the congressional agenda itself amplifies conflict by increasingly focusing on issues that reliably differentiate the parties. With the new president pledging to stem the tide of partisan polarization, Beyond Ideology provides a timely taxonomy of exactly what stands in his way.



Why Washington Won t Work

Why Washington Won t Work Author Marc J. Hetherington
ISBN-10 9780226299358
Release 2015-09-14
Pages 256
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Polarization is at an all-time high in the United States. But contrary to popular belief, Americans are polarized not so much in their policy preferences as in their feelings toward their political opponents: To an unprecedented degree, Republicans and Democrats simply do not like one another. No surprise that these deeply held negative feelings are central to the recent (also unprecedented) plunge in congressional productivity. The past three Congresses have gotten less done than any since scholars began measuring congressional productivity. In Why Washington Won’t Work, Marc J. Hetherington and Thomas J. Rudolph argue that a contemporary crisis of trust—people whose party is out of power have almost no trust in a government run by the other side—has deadlocked Congress. On most issues, party leaders can convince their own party to support their positions. In order to pass legislation, however, they must also create consensus by persuading some portion of the opposing party to trust in their vision for the future. Without trust, consensus fails to develop and compromise does not occur. Up until recently, such trust could still usually be found among the opposition, but not anymore. Political trust, the authors show, is far from a stable characteristic. It’s actually highly variable and contingent on a variety of factors, including whether one’s party is in control, which part of the government one is dealing with, and which policies or events are most salient at the moment. Political trust increases, for example, when the public is concerned with foreign policy—as in times of war—and it decreases in periods of weak economic performance. Hetherington and Rudolph do offer some suggestions about steps politicians and the public might take to increase political trust. Ultimately, however, they conclude that it is unlikely levels of political trust will significantly increase unless foreign concerns come to dominate and the economy is consistently strong.



The Increasingly United States

The Increasingly United States Author Daniel J. Hopkins
ISBN-10 9780226530406
Release 2018-06-01
Pages 336
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In a campaign for state or local office these days, you’re as likely today to hear accusations that an opponent advanced Obamacare or supported Donald Trump as you are to hear about issues affecting the state or local community. This is because American political behavior has become substantially more nationalized. American voters are far more engaged with and knowledgeable about what’s happening in Washington, DC, than in similar messages whether they are in the South, the Northeast, or the Midwest. Gone are the days when all politics was local. With The Increasingly United States, Daniel J. Hopkins explores this trend and its implications for the American political system. The change is significant in part because it works against a key rationale of America’s federalist system, which was built on the assumption that citizens would be more strongly attached to their states and localities. It also has profound implications for how voters are represented. If voters are well informed about state politics, for example, the governor has an incentive to deliver what voters—or at least a pivotal segment of them—want. But if voters are likely to back the same party in gubernatorial as in presidential elections irrespective of the governor’s actions in office, governors may instead come to see their ambitions as tethered more closely to their status in the national party.



Legacies of Losing in American Politics

Legacies of Losing in American Politics Author Jeffrey K. Tulis
ISBN-10 9780226515465
Release 2018-01-05
Pages 224
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American politics is typically a story about winners. The fading away of defeated politicians and political movements is a feature of American politics that ensures political stability and a peaceful transition of power. But American history has also been built on defeated candidates, failed presidents, and social movements that at pivotal moments did not dissipate as expected but instead persisted and eventually achieved success for the loser’s ideas and preferred policies. With Legacies of Losing in American Politics, Jeffrey K. Tulis and Nicole Mellow rethink three pivotal moments in American political history: the founding, when anti-Federalists failed to stop the ratification of the Constitution; the aftermath of the Civil War, when President Andrew Johnson’s plan for restoring the South to the Union was defeated; and the 1964 presidential campaign, when Barry Goldwater’s challenge to the New Deal order was soundly defeated by Lyndon B. Johnson. In each of these cases, the very mechanisms that caused the initial failures facilitated their eventual success. After the dust of the immediate political defeat settled, these seemingly discredited ideas and programs disrupted political convention by prevailing, often subverting, and occasionally enhancing constitutional fidelity. Tulis and Mellow present a nuanced story of winning and losing and offer a new understanding of American political development as the interweaving of opposing ideas.



Neither Liberal Nor Conservative

Neither Liberal Nor Conservative Author Donald R. Kinder
ISBN-10 9780226452456
Release 2017-05-24
Pages 213
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Congress is crippled by ideological conflict. The political parties are more polarized today than at any time since the Civil War. Americans disagree, fiercely, about just about everything, from terrorism and national security, to taxes and government spending, to immigration and gay marriage. Well, American elites disagree fiercely. But average Americans do not. This, at least, was the position staked out by Philip Converse in his famous essay on belief systems, which drew on surveys carried out during the Eisenhower Era to conclude that most Americans were innocent of ideology. In Neither Liberal nor Conservative, Donald Kinder and Nathan Kalmoe argue that ideological innocence applies nearly as well to the current state of American public opinion. Real liberals and real conservatives are found in impressive numbers only among those who are deeply engaged in political life. The ideological battles between American political elites show up as scattered skirmishes in the general public, if they show up at all. If ideology is out of reach for all but a few who are deeply and seriously engaged in political life, how do Americans decide whom to elect president; whether affirmative action is good or bad? Kinder and Kalmoe offer a persuasive group-centered answer. Political preferences arise less from ideological differences than from the attachments and antagonisms of group life.



The Politics of Resentment

The Politics of Resentment Author Katherine J. Cramer
ISBN-10 9780226349251
Release 2016-03-23
Pages 256
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Since the election of Scott Walker, Wisconsin has been seen as ground zero for debates about the appropriate role of government in the wake of the Great Recession. In a time of rising inequality, Walker not only survived a bitterly contested recall that brought thousands of protesters to Capitol Square, he was subsequently reelected. How could this happen? How is it that the very people who stand to benefit from strong government services not only vote against the candidates who support those services but are vehemently against the very idea of big government? With The Politics of Resentment, Katherine J. Cramer uncovers an oft-overlooked piece of the puzzle: rural political consciousness and the resentment of the “liberal elite.” Rural voters are distrustful that politicians will respect the distinct values of their communities and allocate a fair share of resources. What can look like disagreements about basic political principles are therefore actually rooted in something even more fundamental: who we are as people and how closely a candidate’s social identity matches our own. Using Scott Walker and Wisconsin’s prominent and protracted debate about the appropriate role of government, Cramer illuminates the contours of rural consciousness, showing how place-based identities profoundly influence how people understand politics, regardless of whether urban politicians and their supporters really do shortchange or look down on those living in the country. The Politics of Resentment shows that rural resentment—no less than partisanship, race, or class—plays a major role in dividing America against itself.