6 Class Summary (Version 1)

6 Class Summary (Version 1) - Camille March Politics of...

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Camille March Politics of Talk “American Political Culture and Public Opinion” Summary of February 6, 2008 Lecture Questions to think about: When studying speeches and issues, such as the presidential election, we should keep certain questions in mind that will indicate the influence of frames in the message. What are we being told to think about (agenda setting)? How are we told to interpret different information presented to us (priming)? Does what we are told make a difference to our thinking? When media and other elites spar over interpreting events, does anyone have the upper-hand? Framing Issues It used to be believed that citizens were fools and the media had no effect upon them. Now it is beginning to be understood that the media has a modest affect upon people who are sensible. It is important to realize that citizens are not “sheople” because they do not simply vote according to everything the elites say. People are not always receptive to the message; to analyze the real effect of elite framing one must identify the results. Studies of framing show that the reception of a frame by an audience depends on the power of the frame within its respective context. Four characteristics factor into success: attributes of the audience, size of the microphone, attributes of the elite, and resonation. The American people are not homogeneously receptive to media, officials, interest groups, and other elites. Due to the diversity of preference, different frames must be created for the types of people. However, even a good frame will not succeed if it is ineffective at reaching a wide enough audience. The size of the microphone means that
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an elite must have the ability to expose a large number of people to a give frame (for example a large daily paper like the New York Times would be more effective than a small town weekly). The elite that is doing the framing must also be a credible source that hold some authoritative position in the eyes of their listeners. Resonation means that the frame must be absorbed by the public and used in daily communication. This quality is hard to achieve because of the heterogeneity of the population; elites will tend to pack themes together as do politicians as an “aggregation of preferences.” There are a number of different ways to approach framing that are used depending
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6 Class Summary (Version 1) - Camille March Politics of...

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