Scholars look at priming, framing, agenda-setting
Media impact research studies how news and information influences the way people learn, vote and behave in society. The two popular academic pieces described below look at the impact of news on perceptions of the U.S. president. Ask students to read these summaries and complete the assignment below.
Miller, J. M., & Krosnick, J. A. (1996). News media impact on the ingredients of presidential evaluations: A program of research on the priming hypothesis. Political persuasion and attitude change, 79-100.
Priming is the idea that what appears in the news triggers related thoughts that cause people to make decisions or take actions. This piece examines the history of priming from 1920 to the 1990s. The researchers sought to understand how news consumers made certain inferences based off of the news they consumed.
Miller, J. M., & Krosnick, J. A. (2000). News media impact on the ingredients of presidential evaluations: Politically knowledgeable citizens are guided by a trusted source. American Journal of Political Science, 301-315.
In this more recent study, the researchers concluded that priming does not occur because politically naive citizens are victims but rather reflects conclusions drawn from a credible source of information by educated citizens.
Assignment: In addition to priming, scholars also study framing (how the context in which news is reported influences perception) and agenda-setting (how repeated media coverage can push issues to center stage). Research these concepts and write a short paper comparing and contrasting them.