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5 - The Accuracy of Media Coverage

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2022

Stuart N. Soroka
Affiliation:
University of California, Los Angeles
Christopher Wlezien
Affiliation:
University of Texas, Austin
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Summary

This chapter offers our first empirical analyses of media coverage of policy, across the various policy domains and news organizations. We first compare the aggregated “media signals” to actual changes in policy. Does aggregated coverage follow policy over time? Does this relationship vary across domains? Given the multiple measures developed in the previous chapter, this chapter also considers whether and how the measures matter for what we observe. This chapter centers on figures depicting the ebb and flow of policy and media coverage over time. In so doing, it offers the first large-scale comparison of policy change, and media coverage of policy change, across six domains over a forty-year period. Do patterns vary across newspapers? How about across media, particularly television coverage? Does it match what we see in newspapers? This chapter offers some critical diagnostics, assessing the degree to which media coverage has followed public policy; and relatedly, whether media coverage reliably includes the information citizens need to respond to policy change.

Type
Chapter
Information
Information and Democracy
Public Policy in the News
, pp. 88 - 110
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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