News Frames, Political Cynicism, and Media Cynicism

The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science (Impact Factor: 1.01). 07/1996; 546(1):71-84. DOI: 10.1177/0002716296546001007


Public confidence in Congress, the government, and social institutions has reached new lows. Healthy skepticism may have given way to corrosive cynicism. Some media watchers and critics blame the media for their preoccupation with the game and strategy of politics rather than social problems and their solution. Others deny that changes in news have affected the quality of democracy or the depth of political alienation. Studies that we have conducted over the past four years show that subtle changes in the way news stories are framed can affect consumers' responses, activating their cynicism when strategic or conflict-oriented frames are used. The studies directly implicate media framing of political news in activating, if not creating, cynicism about campaigns, policy, and governance and imply that cynicism about the news media may be an indirect consequence.

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    • "In communication research, a number of studies have focused on citizen cynicism towards political institutions or the media (cf. Cappella & Jamieson, 1996; Valentino, Beckmann & Buhr, 2001). Depending on context and application, cynicism has been defined as a trait, an attitude (general or specific) or a belief (Andersson, 1996; Dean et al., 1998). "
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    • "A focus on diplomacy and compromise would paint a very different picture of political careers, and this emphasis could draw in more communally oriented women and men. The reluctance of the media and political campaigns to identify how the government helps people could be another contributing factor in the " masculinized ethos " of politics (Cappella & Jamieson, 1996). This research contributes to the emerging literature on the goal congruity perspective in important ways. "
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    • "Miller (1974, p.952) describe political cynicism as " the degree of negative affect toward the government " and " a statement of the belief that the government is not functioning and producing outputs in accord with individual expectations. " Political cynicism has been studied in different contexts for more than five decades (e.g., Koch, 2003; Lee & Glasure, 2002; Agger, Goldstein, & Pearl, 1961; Lyons, 1970; Cappella & Jamieson, 1996; and Pinkleton & Austin, 2001). "
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    ABSTRACT: Chamil Rathnayake* is a doctoral student in Communication and Information Sciences at the University of Hawaii, USA. He has a master " s degree in public administration from the University of Hawaii. His research focuses on online politics, social media uses and gratifications, and social media acceptance for politics. He currently serves as a teaching assistant at the School Abstract This study examines effects of political cynicism and efficacy on online political engagement of
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