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The Media and Interpersonal Communications.docx

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McGill University
Political Science
POLI 222
Christa Scholtz

"The Media and Interpersonal Communications: The Priming of Issues, Leaders, and Party Identification" (Matthew Mendelsohn) Introduction • part of the reason for vote instability during election campaigns in the media's role in priming the character of leaders • candidate's personal qualities highlighted by the media and parties are ignored ◦ ppl become more likely to base vote on candidate eval and less likely to base it on their PID ◦ BUT interpersonal communications can act as a buffer to this tendency • those more highly exposed to the media have the determinants of their vote altered, making their evaluation of candidates more important and their PID less so ◦ volatility of vote intentions partially due to media's priming of leadership and downplaying of PID The Media and Priming • priming: can provoke opinion or behaviour change not because individuals alter their beliefs of evaluations of objects, but because they alter the relative weight they give to various considerations that make up the ultimate evaluation • Iyengar ◦ media and how they got about reporting the political world might affect public opinion ◦ attribute responsibility to individual political actors over broader societal forces ◦ episodic manner, focusing on unrelated events and idiosyncratic happenings, rather than thematic framing that contains contextualizing info • Zaller ◦ public opinion might be influenced by short-term contextual factors, including the media ◦ how we come to form our political opinions ◦ rarely have well-defined opinions on these questions ▪ when called to make judgment, opinion response will be constructed by what comes to mind (top of the head) ▪ what has recently been seen/read in the media ▪ opinion instability • Iyengar and Zaller ◦ neither operates in a "real world" dynamic setting • Thesis ◦ candidate evaluations become more important determinants
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