Full Text

Political Cognitions

Doris A. Graber and Gregory G. Holyk


Subject Politics
Communication Reception and Effects » Communication, Politics and Elections

Key-Topics knowledge

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405131995.2008.x


Extract

“Political cognitions” refers to the ability of human beings to acquire and possess →  political knowledge through perception, reasoning, or intuition. Citizens’ cognitions about politics come mainly from information supplied by the mass media – television, newspapers, magazines, or the Internet – because most political happenings are beyond the day-to-day experiences of citizens. Dependence on mass media has consequences for peoples’ cognitions about politics and makes it important to investigate what kinds of information mass media produce. Despite news professionals’ claims of balanced reporting, information provided by the mass media is biased (→  Balance ; Bias in the News ). Indeed, complete →  neutrality is impossible. Media personnel must choose what political stories to report, whom to use as story sources, and how to present the narrative of political events. By highlighting certain issues, people, and details, and framing them to reflect particular perspectives, the media affect how people interpret information and use it for political decisions (→  Framing Effects ). For instance, Clinton's approval ratings rose during the Lewinsky sex scandal when news media framed the event as a conservative war waged against a liberal president rather than focusing on the ethical issues concerning the sexual behavior of the president. The news media are often blamed by democratic ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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