Paper for Midwest Political Science Association Conference, 2013

I co-authored a paper to be presented this weekend with Anthony Daniels, Wayne State University, at MPSA. The paper is titled: Political Actor Agency, Public Opinion, and Negative Media Frames. We present in section 29-13, Political Communication in Campaigns; on Saturday, April 13, 2:40 pm.

Abstract

This study examines the media frame and coverage surrounding the Jeremiah Wright controversy during the 2008 primary race between Hillary Clinton and Barrack Obama. We adopt a game theory framework to assess the role of political actors in responding to and shaping negative media frames. Previous research on media effects finds two competing descriptions; minimal effects and selective effects. We find support for both theories, media effects are subtle but can impact campaigns. We adopt the subtle effects theory assumption that media coverage can have a meaningful influence on political campaigns primarily though shaping the narrative of public discourse. Consistent with theory, we find the impact to be limited, subtle, and the likely product of cumulative exposure. Daily events, the public’s response, and the actions of political actors all combine to shape a media narrative. Employing a multi-methodological approach, we find that political actors can shape the media narrative and that frames impact the public. However, these effects are mitigated by partisanship and other heuristics.

Looking forward to it!!!

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