- From the press to politics and back: When do media set the political agenda and when do parties set the media agenda?
- Award date
- 4 December 2014
- Number of pages
- Document type
- PhD thesis
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
Are the media a powerful influence on the topics that are discussed in politics? Can political parties determine what issues are being debated in the media? This dissertation studies the mutual influence between the media agenda and the political agenda. The existing work indicates that influence on either agenda is conditional: only under some conditions can parties set the media agenda, and -likewise- under some conditions can journalists set the political agenda. By studying attention for the issues of immigration and of European integration in newspapers and parliament in a number of West-European countries from 1995 to 2010 this dissertation identifies such conditions.
Three main conclusions emerge. One, not only attention for issues is important, but framing matters as well. Parties are more likely to adopt issues from the media if the way they are framed suits them. Newspapers are more likely to report on political issues if parties are framing them divergently. Two, the media should not be seen as one, unitary influence on politics. The research in this dissertation shows that parties are mainly influenced by specific newspapers, i.e. the one their voters read. Three, the media do not always amplify existing power structures, but can also work in favor of the least powerful parties. For example, the newspaper the Volkskrant is more likely to report on issues raised by challenger parties, that have never been in government.
- Research conducted at: Universiteit van Amsterdam
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