Students find it difficult to sort through the wealth of literature on media power and make sense of it all. Doris Graber selects the best of this rich and burgeoning literature to reflect the most thought provoking and recent scholarship about traditional and "new" media and analyze mass media effects on the American political system. Criteria for inclusion remains the same as in past trusted editions: readings must be lively and readily understandable and must show how media influenced specific political situations. Thirty-six selections--twenty of them new to this edition and reflecting current developments--represent the work of well-known scholars and media professionals and mirror the interdisciplinary nature of the field. They are written by leading lights, like Robert Entman, Michael Schudson, Lance Bennett and Darrell West, and by rising new stars in the field, such as Bruce Bimber, Matthew Baum, Claes de Vreese, and Stephen Farnsworth. Among the hotbutton issues covered in this edition are the watchdog role of the press during wartime, battles over framing of political issues, the role of soft news and entertainment broadcasts as political information sources for disinterested citizens, and the role of non-traditional news sources, especially the Internet.
Readings are divided into six parts, each covering an important facet of American politics. Part I deals with mass media effects in general. Parts II through V explore the influence of mass media on political perceptions and opinions, on presidential and referendum elections, on participants within and outside the political power structure, and on the formation and implementation of domestic and foreign policies. Part VI examines private and public efforts in the United States and abroad to control the impact of mass media and to shape media offerings. Graber provides introductions to each part and headnotes for each selection.