Media Influence on Public Opinion #AAPOR #MRX 


Prezzie #1: Do polls drive the news or vice versa

  • used many popular news stories – ground zero mosque, occupy, gays in military, etc
  • there was no clear relationship… it depends [so maybe that just means its random and we’re fishing for nothing]

prezzie #2: perceptions of news coverage among blacks and hispanics

  • survey done in 2014, it was pre Ferguson, oversampled the minority groups
  • digital divide was not as expected, re minorities would have less internet access
  • blacks use TV and cell phone more
  • hispanics more likely to use cell phone, and less to use paper newspapers or computer/tablet
  • 78% overall use smartphones and actually, more blacks use smart phones for news gathering
  • the major difference is smartphone usage not race
  • diversity of content on digital sources has not happened yet
  • people do find it easier to keep up with news now compared to five years ago, same across all groups
  • but the finding is not so good when trying to find news about their own community (racial community)
  • 3 to 5% believe their community is not covered in the news
  • a quarter believe their community is not reported accurately in the news
  • the two groups go to different media to learn about their community, blacks go to local news organizations, hispanics go to ethincally focused media

prezzie #3: political conspiracies

  • for instance, the obama birth certificate, JFK assassination
  • sharing information does not work, they are motivated by reasoning, people want to believe it, they aren’t motivated to get to THE answer, they are motivated to get to THEIR answer
  • controversy debates may create the perceptions of a controversy even when there isn’t one
  • counter arguments may lead people to hold their beliefs more strongly
  • global warming covered on fox news is controversial stye, cnn is dominant covering vaccines, birtherism was covered on NBC and it was one-sided style
  • there is definite link between the types of news stations you watch and whether you believe in the hoaxes
  • increased attention to current events leads people to be less likely to endorse hoaxes except when people are exposed to controverial coverage, creating controversy 
  • increased coverage by cnn saying that vaccines do not cause autism led to 4% increase in people believing vaccines cause autism

prezzie #4: different types of voters to media reporting

  • is there a media agenda effect and does it influence individual agendas 
  • used survey data over 4 years since 2009, surveys every 3 months
  • media agenda does affect individual agends with regard to events but not for employment
  • but individual characteristics does moderate this
  • have to adapt model by event

prezzie #5: survey literacy and poll interpretation

  • how to people interpret polls in media
  • credibility of results depends on source characteristics, poll characteristics, person characteristics – media souce ideaology, poll quality, reporting transparency, political interest and knowledge
  • transparency initatives – quality of polls being reported, sampling details
  • used amazons mechanical turk for data preparation
  • 2 issues were gun control and abortion which weren’t in the policy agenda during the coding phase, and fairly close to 50/50 issues
  • [more pages of huge regression results, sigh, come on aapor presenters, we can do better than this]
  • credibility was affected by media source
  • it also matters whether the general public is evenly split or more extreme
  • education also had a signficant effect
  • motivated reasoning plays an important role in credibility, transparency matters for consumers and for experts, transparency increases credibility

Liked this session🙂

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