David L. Altheide

David L. Altheide
Arizona State University | ASU

Doctor of Philosophy

About

143
Publications
136,008
Reads
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8,113
Citations
Citations since 2017
30 Research Items
3007 Citations
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Introduction
David L. Altheide Worked at Arizona State University. His current project is 'I just finished the 2nd edition of Terrorism and the Politics of Fear (Rowman and Litllefield)'.

Publications

Publications (143)
Chapter
This chapter examines how entertaining presentations about fear and terrorism are constructed and then define situations and shape social reality. The mass media and social media inform how audiences define reality, perceive social issues, and make political decisions. Decades of research on the nature of media logic and mediation demonstrate the i...
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This paper examines the power of a mediatized President to use reflexive propaganda—the rules and assumptions of digital media—to define a public health crisis. During the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, President Trump engaged in attention‐based politics, or the use of media to draw attention of the largest audience to himself, at the expense of an eff...
Chapter
This chapter examines the logic of developments in information formats that have produced unintended consequences due to misuse, hacking, and publication of private and protected information. The same logic that enables swift searches and instrumental behavior can also be used to surveil the user and capture information about the user’s practices,...
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Edward Snowden was castigated by government officials and mainstream mass media as a traitor, spy, and international criminal when he released information about the National Security Agency (NSA) secret and massive surveillance of virtually all U.S. electronic communication. More than “wiretapping” is involved in the spin being put on Snowden's rev...
Chapter
Communication and social performances are guided and evaluated in popular culture terms and criteria as our media have become more instant, visual, and personal. The media syndrome (MS) refers to the prevalence of media logic, communication formats, and media content in social life. The media syndrome might include individual personas and identitie...
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Edward Snowden was castigated by government officials and mainstream mass media as a traitor, spy, and international criminal when he released information about the National Security Agency (NSA) secret and massive surveillance of virtually all U.S. electronic communication. More than “wiretapping” is involved in the spin being put on Snowden's rev...
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Full-text available
The focus is on the nature and significance of media logic and an ecology of communication for a theory of mediation and for understanding and investigating political communication. Media logic is defined as a form of communication, and the process through which media transmit and communicate information. The logic and guidelines become taken for g...
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The role of mediated communication and media logic in social order is discussed, along with recent examples involving social media and popular culture, surveillance, commercialism and marketing, social change and revolution, and military strategies and weapon systems. The relevance of an ecology of communication—the structure, organization, and acc...
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This article suggests that a theory of risk communication is incomplete without incorporating how risk is not only promoted, but also shielded: shielding risk refers to the strategic use of dominant cultural symbols, narratives and communication formats to deflect and often negate claims about risks. Many risk narratives are normatively based on in...
Chapter
Richard Ericson's work taught us much about how institutional narratives reflect and promote social control. He demonstrated how institutional logics delineated the origin, nature, communicative forms and formats, and consequences of bureaucratic reasoning on a range of significant sociological topics, particularly power and social control. His con...
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The child sexual molestation scandal at Penn State University reveals important distinctions between “normal crimes” and scandals, with the latter providing evidence of institutional or leadership corruption. The usual attempts at institutional containment of scandal prove difficult or impossible when narratives of fear are joined to significant cu...
Article
David Altheide reflects on his long career, noting the role of family, friends, colleagues, organizational culture, and luck.
Article
This chapter focuses on the selective news coverage and propaganda that preceded and followed the 9/11/01 event, using a model of news coverage or War Programming developed by the first author in earlier work. The ordered sequence of activities in War Programming begins from reportage and visual reports on the most recent war to the reports on the...
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Two sociologists reflect on nearly 4 decades of living in Arizona, which has emerged as a center of reactionary politics. Draconian immigration policies are contextualized with a gun culture, demographic shifts, and a mass media emphasis on fear. Comparisons with the national crime and social control agenda are offered.
Article
Risk communication is emerging as a subformat within institutional formats, including official agency reports (e.g. FBI) and news formats. The latter may draw on the former, while the former virtually never draw on the latter. Claimsmakers may draw on both. The format of risk communication shapes the organization, presentation, emphasis and interpr...
Article
Dan Nimmo, ed. Communication Yearbook (New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Books, 1979---$25.00 with discount for ICA members ordering through that organization)
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The tragic events on April 20, 1999, in Littleton, Colorado, provide an opportunity to reflect on the nature and consequences of not just the shootings but also the meanings that were ascribed to various facets of those events, including an emergent definition of the “Columbine Syndrome.” Based on a qualitative media analysis, this article examines...
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Mass media reports about terrorism prepared audiences for the Iraq War. Expanded social control efforts, including surveillance and suspension of civil liberties, were deemed necessary to fight terrorism. The fight against terrorism and the Iraq War were presented to audiences through an exhaustive propaganda campaign that included dramatisation of...
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This paper examines the nature and extent of news reports using the sociological concept, 'moral panic' (MP). Qualitative content analysis reveals that moral panic is commonly used in news reports in the USA, UK, Australia, and other countries, but it is more likely to be compatible with print (e.g. newspaper) formats than television reports. It is...
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The Iraq War was presented to the audiences through an exhaustive propaganda campaign. Analysis of news coverage suggests that this war was presented as a feature of war programming, or the selective use of claims makers/news sources within a normative pattern, which includes occasional detractors to give the appearance of debate. It is suggested t...
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I will suggest two things about propaganda: First, that the propaganda campaign was successful because of “new propaganda” akin to “public diplomacy” that was used “against” other countries, but it was turned on citizens of the United States; Second, that propaganda narratives both “pro” and “con” – in our case, the Bush Administration and an oppos...
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The mass media promotes terrorism by stressing fear and an uncertain future. Major changes in US foreign and domestic policy essentially went unreported and unchallenged by the dominant news organizations. Notwithstanding the long relationship in the United States between fear and crime, the role of the mass media in promoting fear has become more...
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This exploratory study of news media reports examines language of incarceration shifts from ‘tough on crime’ to ‘smart on crime’ as a feature of broader, contextual meanings about: (1) the costs and benefits of prison and incarceration; (2) the moral meanings and ‘practical reasoning’ associated with imprisonment; (3) the language of deviance and r...
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This article examines how news reports about terrorism in five nationally prominent U.S. newspapers reflect the terms and discourse associated with the politics of fear, or decision makers' promotion and use of audience beliefs and assumptions about danger, risk, and fear, to achieve certain goals. Qualitative data analysis of the prevalence and me...
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The mass media play a large role in the public perception and acceptance of criminal behaviour by the United States of America. Public acceptance of illegal actions by the US government in the Iraq War, as well as steps taken to combat terrorism, have been influenced by entertainment media content and media logic about crime and fear. The focus of...
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The invasion of Iraq was justified to the American people by a sophisticated propaganda campaign that reflected a think tank's vision for a new foreign policy. One objective of this article is to set forth a theoretical argument for analyzing modern propaganda campaigns as a feature of mass-mediated discourse crafted by think tanks and highly organ...
Article
The nexus between the social world of private nonprofit service organizations (NPOs) and their environment is examined through data from a national study of reductions in fiscal support and through focused interviews with a sample of chief personnel in agencies in Maricopa County, Arizona. As a study in how some organizations adjust to changes in t...
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This article discusses a process that linked giving and spending to patriotism, domestic control, and a major foreign policy shift following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Analysis of news reports and advertisements suggests that popular culture and mass media depictions of fear, patriotism, consumption, and victimization contributed...
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This article examines how mediation and control operate in cyberspace through a control narrative, or actors' awareness and expectation that symbolic meanings may be monitored and used by diverse audiences for various purposes. A control narrative is implicated in numerous attempts and logics to monitor and regulate Internet use. The control narrat...
Article
Meta-power is communicated in our media age. Memories, expectations, assumptions of audiences, and decision-making practices take into account many messages and images. When democratic decision-making is expedited to enact policies that contradict the democratic process underlying a free society, then more than “politics as usual” is at work. Rathe...
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The news media, a dominant source of information about social issues, use entertainment formats to organize reports that audiences will understand. Part of this organized effort is the use of a discourse of fear, or the pervasive communication, symbolic awareness, and expectation that danger and risk are central features of everyday life. Reliant o...
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The focus of this paper is on the nature and impact of law and legal advice on the Internet - the Practice of Law in Cyberspace (PLICS). The social activities associated with people seeking help and advice from attorneys has cast the attorneys as priests and experts, and the public as outsiders. Internet technology is changing this. Five search ter...
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A seminar project used the World Wide Web to examine the multiple meanings of fear and victim in various news media to explore the substance of news as well as experiment with using an interactive Web page in a seminar format. The approach used was triangu-lated qualitative document analysis (TQDA), which relied on an interactive Web page format th...
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New information bases pose challenges and opportunities for researchers seeking to enhance content analysis and chart cultural shifts using public documents such as newspapers and magazines. A qualitative approach to media analysis is combined with a specific application, ‘tracking discourse’, to demonstrate how research questions can be transforme...
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The importance of identity and the definition of the situation for symbolic interactionist theory and research are discussed. These two concepts have been separated in much research since the 1970s, with identity being used in a variety of ways. This separation is partly attributed to paradigm shifts in social science, as well as to popular culture...
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Fear pervades popular culture and the news media. Whether used as a noun, verb, adverb, or adjective, an ongoing study finds that the word "fear" pervades news reports across all sections of newspapers, and is shown to move or "travel" from one topic to another. The use of fear and the thematic emphases spawned by entertainment formats are consiste...
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The role of the news media in promoting a public discourse of fear is examined. A conceptual model is offered that is based on recent developments in communication formats and frames. The emphasis is on the impact of media forms and frames for guiding the selection and presentation of reports emphasizing fear (e.g., crime, drugs, violence). A “prob...
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The phenomenon of “O. J. Nation'’ illustrates how information technology is part of the effective environment (how people actually experience our social and physical surroundings) and how the mass media, especially the entertainment‐oriented electronic media, provide a context and a format for an increasing array of activities, and shape them in a...
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Altheide's new book advances the argument set in motion some years ago with Media Logic and continued in Media Worlds in the Postjournalism Era: that in our age, information technology and the communication environments it posits have affected the private and the social spheres of all our power relationships, redefining the ground rules for social...
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Chapter 1. Plugged in Research Chapter 2. Ethnographic Content Analysis Chapter 3. Process of Qualitative Document Analysis Chapter 4. Newspapers, Magazines, and Electronic Documents Chapter 5. Electronic Reality I Chapter 6. Electronic Reality II Chapter 7. Tracking Discourse Chapter 8. Field Notes and Other Data
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Communication and social order are the consequences of reflexive activity. The expansion of information technology into more areas of social life challenges social theorists to account for the contribution and impact of these technologies and accompanying logic on a host of social activities. An “ecology of communication” is a sensitizing concept t...
Article
The concept of media logic, a theoretical framework for explaining the relationship between mass media and culture, was first introduced in Altheide and Snow's influential work, "Media Logic. "In "Media Worlds in the Postjournalism Era, "the authors expand their analysis of how organizational considerations promote a distinctive media logic, which...
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Who is responsible for juvenile delinquency? Mark D. Jacobs uses ethnographic, statistical, and literary methods to uncover the many levels of disorganization in American juvenile justice. By analyzing the continuities betwen normal casework and exceptional cases, he reveals that probation officers must commonly contrive informal measures to circum...
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The significance of mass media formats for social control and public order is illustrated with materials from a “sting” operation conducted by the Phoenix Police Department and county control agents against elected state officials in Arizona in 1991. Videotaped materials of lawmakers accepting “bribes” to support a bill legalizing gambling were dis...
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The role of public discourse, social control, punishment and claims about justice are joined in this essay through the concept of gonzo justice. Gonzo justice refers to the use of extraordinary means to demonstrate social control and moral compliance through rule enforcement and punishment designed to stigmatize publicly, often through the mass med...
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The organization and form of mass communication, and especially television news, is now part of the social policy process. It is suggested that news and social policy can be understood through an examination of communication formats rather than content alone. Formats refer to the rules and logic that transform and mold information or content into t...
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Goffman's construct of total institutions provides a metaphor for the study of pervasive control, as well as point of departure for further analysis of social control in the modern age. The present effort extends this concept to the mass media, and expecially television. The focus is on the way control is communicated and produced through formats w...
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A few observations are offered about the relevance of communication, meaning, and identity in putting information work on a cultural context.
Chapter
In the spring of 1986, we invited several distinguished scholars to write these essays on justice, law, and social control. In part, we initiated this project to reflect on the directions of our interdisciplinary Ph.D. program, which focuses on law and justice in society. More fundamentally, our goal was to encourage research on justice and injusti...

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Project (1)
Project
The focus is on the impact of the propaganda of fear since 9/11 attacks for the election of Donald Trump.