Unit 10 - Cultivation in the News

I.  The "Tabloidization" of Elite Media 

     A.   The Elites versus the Tabs - first rule of the elite was
          accuracy comes first

     B.   Times Change and So Does the Times

          1.   Watergate and the News Hero - Nixon would have
               gotten away with it if two Post reporters had not
               stayed with the story.

          2.   Profit in the Newsroom (Auletta, 1992) - Tabs had
               always been in the money business.  When elites
               started being paid well, you began to see a
               breakdown in the accuracy, etc.  

          3.   Phil, Oprah, Vicki, Sally Jessy, Ricki, Joan,
               Geraldo, Maury, Montel, Regis and Kathy Lee,
               Rolonda, Leeze, Jennie Jones, Jane Whitney, Betrice
               Berry, Larry King and ...60 Minutes, 20/20,
               Primetime Live, Day One, 48Hours, Dateline NBC,
               Now, and ...Current Affair, Hard Copy, Inside
               Edition, American Journal, Entertainment Tonight,
               The Crusaders and ...Meet the Press, Washington
               Week in Review, The Capital Gang, This Week, Face
               the Nation, Nightline, Frontline, and ...Oh yeah,
               ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC News, and CSPAN - all reporting
               on the same agenda.

     C.   Gresham's Law in the Media (Kurtz, 1993) - bad money
          drives out good money

          1.   Michael Jackson's legal problems were covered in
               both areas.  He was never tried but public was lead
               to believe that he was a child molester.

          2.   Gennifer Flowers was paid $100,000 by the National
               Enquirer to go public regarding an affair with

          3.   A Cardinal and Two Secretaries (Cabinet) - 3 news
               stories that were untrue

          4.   Dateline and the GMC Truck Fire - Dateline aired a
               fraudulent recreation of an explosion.

     D.   Media Information and Common Sense 

          1.   Information = money

          2.   Elite has changed from an accuracy criterion to

               attract an audience.

          3.   You have to work hard to find the truth

II.  What's the Buzz, Tell Me What's Happening!

     A.   People Do Talk

     B.   Why Do They Buzz

III. Cultivation and the Garden Revisited

     A.   Planting Seeds....consistent and uncontradicted messages

     B.   Hey, Does This Apply with News?

IV.  Agenda-Setting (Severin & Tankard, 1988)

     A.   Determining an Agenda and Its Contents

          1.   What is the News Agenda?  

          2.   Media, Public, and Reality Agenda 

               a.   Media - look at how much time the media spends
                    on it

               b.   Public - public opinion polls 

               c.   Reality - look at statistics 

          3.   Key Question - Which Agenda Comes First? - see page

     B.   The Three Agendas: Reality, Media, and the Public 

          1.   Method - based on the decade of the 1960's, 
               recreated the media agenda.  Determined what the
               media covered, public opinion polls, etc.  Do they

          2.   Results - the media sets our agenda
     C.   Measuring The Three Agendas

	  1.   News: Time and Space

	  2.   Public: Opinion Polling

	  3.   Reality: Blood and Money

     D.   How Are the Three Agendas Related? (Funkhouser, 1973)

	  1.   Tracking Agendas in the 1960's

	  2.   Connecting Those Agendas: Results

     E.   Agenda Setting in Elections (McCombs & Shaw, 1972)

          1.   '68 & '72 Presidential Elections

	  2.   Connecting Media and Public Agendas Only

     F.   What Causes the Media Agenda? (Dearing & Rogers, 1996)

	  1.   The New York Times

	  2.   The U.S. President

	  3.   A Shocking, Unexpected, or Dramatic Event
     G.   Terman's Summary of Agenda-Setting Studies (r = .45; Box
          = 25/75) - found the same as above (first it's on the
          media then we buzz about it)

     H.   General Conclusions about Agenda Setting

          1.   Media Agenda Comes First - tells you what to think

          2.   Agendas' Effects Occur Over Time - takes a few
               weeks before the public agenda takes over

          3.   What to Think vs. What to Think About - does not
               inform you as to pro or anti just what to think

V.   Priming Perceptions (Iyengar & Kinder, 1986)

     A.   Frequency and Direction of Message - determines attitude
          toward topic

     B.   Method of Study

          1.   The Set-up - Study took place in the midwest (taped
               the east coast news and manipulated 3 minutes).   

          2.   Questions asked of views - did you like the anchor? 

     C.   Ratings of the President (Moderate effects)

     D.   A Real-Life Example of Priming - George Bush's re-election failure in 1992.  Bush had won
     the Gulf War but
          lost the election because of the bad news about the
          economy.  Bush got primed out of office.

VI.  Unit Conclusions

     A.   Media Influence Public Discussion

     B.   Are We Really Thinking? (Lisa vs Homer, again)

     C.   Media Misuses Science

     D.   Another Caveat Emptor

Back to Notes Table of Contents

Notes prepared by SBB. Page created July 20, 1997; updated on October 14, 1999. Edited by Mike Lowry Copyright © Steve Booth-Butterfield, 1997.