Book

The Press Effect

Kathleen Hall Jamieson and Paul Waldman

Published in print November 2002 | ISBN: 9780195152777
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199833900 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195152778.001.0001

Series: Gender & Politics

The Press Effect

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Preview

What Americans know, understand, and believe about the world of politics is the product of a negotiation between journalists and political actors. The news is primarily shaped not by a liberal or conservative bias, but by the need for news to be dramatic and easily packaged. Consequently, the frames into which events are fit – more than any objective idea of truth – determine what information passes through the news filter.

The Press Effect surveys events in a critical period of American history, from the election of 2000 through the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. In each of the events that took place, journalists inhabited a different role that shaped the news. During the election between Bush and Gore, they acted as amateur psychologists, delving into the minds of the candidates in an attempt to reveal their true character. On election night, they acted as soothsayers, while in the postelection events in Florida, the press actively shaped events. On September 11 and after, journalists functioned as patriots, seeking to unify the country. In each case, the role inhabited by the press left critical questions unanswered and allowed distortions of the facts to pass into news. The book closes with a discussion of the means by which the press can enhance its most critical role, that of custodian of fact.

Keywords: 2000 election; framing; journalism; news bias; patriotism; politics; press; public opinion; September 11

Book.  240 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: US Politics

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Table of Contents

The Press as Storyteller in The Press Effect

Chapter

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The Press as Soothsayer in The Press Effect

Chapter

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The Press as Patriot in The Press Effect

Chapter

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Conclusion in The Press Effect

Chapter

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