475 perspectives on media influence 12 upPresentation Transcript
PS 475GMark Peffley
VII. Media and Election Campaigns (Oct. 11, 16, 18) will discuss under XI. Read: Iyengar, Media Politics, Ch. 6 (“Campaigning Through the Media”)VIII. Media Effects on Public Opinion (Oct. 23, 25, 30) Read: Iyengar, Media Politics, Ch 8 (“News and Public Opinion”)IX. Sources and Consequences of Americans’ Distrust of the Media (Nov. 1, 8) Read: Ladd, Why Americans Hate the Media, Chs 5-7, pp. 108-193.November 6th: Election, Academic HolidayX. Media and Campaign Effects (Nov. 13) Read: Iyengar, Media Politics, Ch 9 (“Campaigns that Matter”),XI. Strategies for Managing the News (Nov. 15, 20): Read: Iyengar, Media Politics, Ch 7 (“Going Public: Governing Through theMedia”) Ch. 10 (“The Consequences of Going Public”)Nov. 22: Thanksgiving break!XII. Conclusion (Dec. 6) Read: Iyengar, Ch 11 (“Evaluating Media Politics”) Ladd, Why Americans Hate the Media, Ch. 8Dec. 7: Conference, The Polarizing Effects of Political Communications, Young LibraryAuditorium
The Polarized Electorate:Date: Friday, December 7, 2012 (All day)Location: Young Library Auditorium, Gallery James N. Druckman (the Payson S. Wild Professor of Political Science at Northwestern University) uses experimental methods to show how the framing of communications from polarized parties drives the public apart. Paper here. Dan Kahan (the Elizabeth K. Dollard Professor of Law and Professor of Psychology at Yale University) uses survey experiments to show how people’s cultural identities shape their perceptions of threat and scientific research. Paper here. Kevin Arceneaux (Political scientist, Temple University) uses innovative media experiments to study the impact of polarized news shows, like Fox and MSNBC, where audiences can tune in to news that reinforce their political biases and avoid exposure to contrary information.
Strong Media: Early studies raised fears that mass media could be a powerful propaganda tool War propaganda Hypodermic model Gerbner’s "cultivation" model
War Propaganda, 1917
War Propaganda, 1917
Nazi propaganda "The Jew in his element: With Blacks in a Parisian night club.”
"Workers of the mind and hand! Votefor the front soldier Adolf Hitler!“ "Enough! Vote Hitler!" "Long live Germany!."
"Youth Serves the Führer. All 10-year-olds into the Hitler Youth.“ (mandatory in 1936)"Hitler is building. Help him. BuyGerman goods."
Types of early war propaganda Positive: The first type of propaganda was that which motivated the viewer by instilling patriotism, confidence and a positive outlook. Patriotic colors of red, white and blue were predominate. Pictures of fists, muscles, tools and artillery convey American strength. Negative: The second type of propaganda showed people grim, unromantic visions of war. They depict the human cost of war, confronting the viewer with corpses, bloodshed, and gravestones. These images appeal to darker impulses, fostering feelings of suspicion, fear and even hate.
Film: Triumph of the Will(1935, German: Triumph des Willens), propaganda filmby German filmmaker, Leni Riefenstahl, commissioned byHitler.
“Birth Of A Nation,” U.S., 1915 Sympathetic portrayal of white supremacy and the Ku Klux Klan in the South after Civil War.
“Why We Fight” series, Frank Capra Know Your Enemy--Japan The Nazis Strike (WWII)
3rd Presidential Debate
BASIC ELEMENTS OF PROPAGANDA Propaganda is an attempt to influence people through the manipulation of symbols and the psychology of the individual by playing on the individual’s prejudices and emotions rather than the merits of the message. Repetition - owing to the infantile limitations of collective memory, a message must be continuously propagated in order to take hold within the collective consciousness. Simplicity - The message must be designed in such a way that it appeals to or is quickly understood by the lowest common intellectual denominator of the collective. This is not only true because of the vast ignorance of the masses, but also because the collective attention span is virtually nonexistent. We now live in a world of sound-bite discourse. The simple lie always conquers the complex truth. Imagery - The most powerful propaganda is embedded within appealing imagery. This imagery could be pictorial or descriptive. This is why movies and music are such potent forms of propaganda. Sentiment - The message must contain as little detail as possible, and instead be designed in such a way that it appeals to some strong emotion or sentiment—such as sex or sympathy. The exclusion of detail allows for the quicker processing of the message, while the underlying sentiment reinforces it. The message need not be logically or factually based, this only clouds the affective force of the message. If any logic or fact is included, it must be very simple and plain, requiring virtually no processing time — the use of cliches and platitudes is quite effective.
Hypodermic Needle TheoryOr: Magic Bullet Theory Mass media had a direct, immediate and powerful effect on its audiences Mass media can influence a very large group of people directly and uniformly by ‘shooting’ or ‘injecting’ them with appropriate messages designed to trigger a desired response Mass publics are isolated individuals, passive, highly vulnerable and messages are unmediated Examples: War propaganda "War of the Worlds“ radio broadcast New media introduction
Gerbner’s Cultivation Theory Heavy exposure to mass media, namely television, creates and cultivates attitudes more consistent with a media reality versus actual reality. Heavy viewers attitudes are cultivated primarily by what they watch on television. Heavy viewers make assumptions about violence, people, places, and other fictionalized events that do not reflect reality. Evidence consists of the correlation of television content with data accumulated from surveyed audience members. E.g., increased fear of walking alone at night, and a mistrust of people in general, violent behavior.
Limitations of Cultivation Theory Theoretical: Unmediated messages, vulnerable audiences. Learning is far more conditional. Methodological: Correlational evidence raises questions of: What is causing what? Measures of exposure to media Self-selection effects Question: what if we found that people who watch more television are less trusting of the government?
Empirical Support for strongmedia models? Strong media confronts evidence from panel surveys and experimental studies in the U.S. (below) Without (authoritarian) control over all messages, strong media models are often unrealistic and exaggerated
Weak Media: Research on persuasion from 1940’s (e.g., Paul Lazarsfeld’s classic 1940 panel survey study in Ohio) to 1970’s concluded that media have "minimal effects." This became the conventional wisdom. Limited effects: Psychological factors: perceptual screen Social factors: interpersonal factors 2-step flow Economic factors Result is reinforcement of existing predispositions
Weak Media? Reevaluating the conventional wisdom: Problems with narrow definitions (of media, media effects, messages, etc.); political and technological developments; and methodological considerations. Methodological concerns: Survey research as too blunt to capture cause & effect of media influence, especially subtle effects that may be short-term but critical in an election. Other, more subtle effects, not just attitude change New era of New Media