Written Assignment posted this afternoon Will go over Why Americans Hate the Media in Class Read Iyengar for Written Assignment & final 8 more classes Conference: Dec 7
News coverage Election night coverage Campaign ads Post-mortem and analysis? Storm Fiscal cliff 2014, 2016 Polarized electorate: This American Life
Persuasion (attitude change) Reinforcement Learning Agenda setting Priming FramingHistorical note: Iyengar did some path-breaking work on subtle effects likeagenda-setting, priming and framing, but because of the loose and strangeway he defined these terms, it took others a decade to sort out the differences.
Advantages (internal validity) 1. Ability to test causal inferences. 2. Ability to explore the details of process. 3. Relative economy. Disadvantages (external validity) 1. Sampling bias: Unrepresentative subject pools (i.e., over-use of college sophomores). 2. Artificial environment, esp. in terms of “Mundane realism” (any superficial appearance of reality. The similarity of experimental events to everyday experiences.) ▪ But need to consider “Experimental realism” (the experiment captures the intended essence of the situation when subjects are caught up in the experiment and are truly influenced by it). 3. In the treatment condition, everyone is exposed to the treatment which may not be an accurate portrayal of reality (e.g., attention levels, remote controls).
Survey & experiments (influence of TV violence, cigarette smoking) Survey experiments (hybrid) ▪ Question wording experiments (text only) ▪ Internet surveys (video experiments via survey)
Racial, gender, other negative stereotypes of groups created and reinforced by biased media messages News coverage associates racial imagery with ostensibly race-neutral policies, like crime & welfare Methodological pluralism: Content analysis , survey and news experiments Studies Gilens: Racially biased imagery of news media (news magazines, TV and newspapers) stories of poverty creates an association between race and poverty in the minds of whites, as well as opposition to welfare, and negative stereotypes of the poor and minorities. Gilliam & Iyengar: Racially biased imagery of local TV news stories on violent crime creates racial fears and support for punitive crime policies by associating violent crime with minorities (e.g., news coverage of “crack cocaine epidemic” in 1990s). Juxtaposed against minority celebrities as exemplars (e.g., Oprah) Chavez: Latino Threat stereotype (content analysis only)
Shift in media focus from rural poverty portrayed by whites to urban povertyportrayed by blacks, with much variation in frequency over time.
Given this negative, racially biased news coverage, is it any wonder that most whites greatlyover-estimate the percentage of welfare clients who are black?
Content Analysis: While African Americans make up about 30 percent of the poor, about 60 percent of the poor people shown on network television news and depicted in the major newsweeklies between 1988 and 1992 were black. Similarly, the media portray the black poor in a disproportionately negative light. Every single picture in newsweekly stories about the "underclass"--the ghetto poor--between 1950 and 1992 showed African Americans. In more sympathetic stories about predicaments such as hunger or medical care among the poor, only about one-fourth of the people pictured were black. Survey: As a result of systematic distortion, Americans consistently overestimate the black proportion of the poor and of welfare recipients—believing that about 60% of welfare recipients are black. In 1991 survey, Gilens found big correlation between whites’ negative stereotypes of blacks and their opposition to welfare. Most whites mistakenly assumed that blacks were the principal beneficiaries of welfare. Can we conclude that negative racial stereotypes cause opposition to welfare? Why or why not?
Now think about a [black woman, white woman] in her early twenties with a ten year old child and who has been on welfare for the past year. ½ respondents randomly assigned to the black welfare mother condition Other ½ respondents randomly assigned to the white welfare mother condition Question: why not ask everyone about both the black and the white welfare mothers and then compare responses? The two conditions (questions) are exactly the same in every respect, except for the race of the welfare mother. Any differences in responses must be due to the manipulation.
When predicting Whites’ opposition to welfare, find that evaluations of Black welfaremother are much stronger predictors than evaluations of White welfare mother Conclusion: The much higher correlation between attitudes toward Black than White welfare mother and opposition to welfare shows: When Whites think of welfare, they think of Black welfare mothers, not white welfare mothers.
Content analysis evidence doesn’t show news coverage causing racial stereotypes Survey experiment Text only manipulation No evidence of “media effects” Before welfare reforms of 1996
Vesla M. Weaver, “Race, Skin Color, andCandidate Preference”• Different (racially manipulated) photos randomly assigned to campaign Appendix I. Morphed Images For each candidate, 3 images were morphed.1 This procedure removes distinctive features and creates a very literature “average” face; it also increases attractiveness. Because each candidate shares 2 images, the resulting faces are extremely similar while appearing to be distinct individuals. This methodology diminishes the likelihood that• Uses morphing technology to change support differentials across treatment groups are due to different target candidates. White Candidate 1: skin color and racial features of candidates. + + A B C White Candidate 2: + + A B D
Light-skinned Black Candidate: + +A E F Dark-skinned Black Candidate1: + +E F G The dark-black candidate was purposefully generated from all blackimages so that he is different from the light-skinned black candidate in bothcomplexion and phenotype (his nose and lips are more afrocentric). Thehair and eyebrows of the light-skinned candidate have also been digitallylightened1 .
Content analysis: racially biased images in local TV news over-represents black suspects. (Louisville in 1990s as well as other cities) Survey: to establish association between heavy TV watching and views on race and crime in a natural setting Experiment: to establish cause & effect of watching TV news
Punitive Remedies:• “enforcement of the death penalty for people convicted of murder;• "three strikes and youre out legislation,"• "putting more police on the streets."Old-fashioned racism:rate African-Americans on thefollowing traits• "law abiding;• "unintelligent;• "disciplined,“• "lazy."
Subjects are randomly assigned to watch a 15 minute local news broadcast (with commercials) that included one of 4 versions of a crime story inserted in the middle of the broadcast that is identical except for the image of the perpetrator: 1) no image of perp, or 2) white perp, 3) black perpetrator, or 4) no crime story at all. Early days of Photoshop Adult participants were recruited in a shopping mall, and filled out questionnaire and watched broadcast in a kiosk.Note: colors here are not identical to those used in the experiments
• Either stories with no perp. or black perp. lead to more negative racial stereotypes & support for punitive crime policies among Whites.• Different effects among Blacks subjects, who seemed to resist the crime script.
Learning is complex and conditional. Depends on medium, issue, and citizens (audience). Hypothesized media differences Television Newspapers Magazines What medium –TV, magazines or newspapers—would you expect to lead to the greatest gains in learning? Why?
General concerns about using survey research Survey research as too blunt to capture cause & effect of media influence, especially subtle effects that may be short-term but also critical in an election Specific concerns about using surveys to study learning Correlation between political sophistication and different news media: ▪ Watching television news, low pol. knowledge ▪ Reading newspapers, high pol. Knowledge ▪ What’s causing what? Selection effect: ▪ People with lower sophistication watch a lot of television because it places lower demands on them (to understand the news) Need multi-method design to study learning
How does learning vary across:• medium,• issue and the• cognitive skills of the individual?
Factual knowledge assessed in pre-test and post-test: Example:
Different media for different people and different issues Media complementarity Importance of grabbing viewers’ attention before ingesting hard news and contextual information Question: at what point does entertainment become distracting and interfere with learning? This study was done in 1992; how might the authors’ conclusions change if they did their study in 2012?