Can the media create public opinion? A social-identity approach
Journal/Book: Curr Directions Psychol Sci. 1999; 8: 40 West 20Th Street, New York, NY 10011-4211, USA. Cambridge Univ Press. 152-155.
Abstract: The media remains a powerful presence in U.S. Culture. It gives people news of world and local events, it entertains, and it may even function as a companion to children. Because it functions as a window to the outside world, what appears across its landscape actually may become people's reality. Thus, the potential for distorting their view of that world is high if the picture provided is unrepresentative of actual. Events. For example, the prevalence of violent acts on television has been linked to increased aggression and escalating impressions of a dangerous world, and the overrepresentation of youth and beauty may be a causal factor of eating disorders. In this article, we explore the possibility that the media may also serve as a powerful creator of the very public opinions it seeks to reflect in its news. Subtle nonverbal cues of newscasters have been shown to influence voting behavior, and the media's overrepresentation of the proportion of blacks in poverty may decrease whites' support of welfare. By portraying a world in which people's opinions are based on their ethnic or demographic group membership, the media may also subtly but powerfully create the very opinions they seek to reflect.
Note: Article Anastasio PA, St Josephs Univ, Dept Psychol, 5600 City Ave, Philadelphia,PA 19131 USA
Keyword(s): media; in-group favoritism; routes of persuasion; out-group homogeneity; FACIAL PROMINENCE; MASS-MEDIA; FACE-ISM; RACE