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Thursday, March 6, 2014

The news media is no longer providing journalism.

Politics has taken over the news, leading to polarization, segmentation and for most of the public, a loss of interest in the very information that is needed to fuel a democracy: an interest in and balanced knowledge of civic affairs.

Money drives the media, which has elminated independant news divisions, making them answer to advertising dollars, ratings, "supporter" donations and special interest groups to remain active.

During this time the number and qualify of journalist has been steadily declining, fact checking and decisions made based on truth rather than audience response has both feet in the grave and accountants and marketing executive now decide what is news and how the consumer will exposed to what they think is news.

They are providing information to fuel arguments, to support viewpoints and to focus on whatever will gain the highest ratings, readership or Twitter talk.

Conservatives have driven the debate and the showdown in Washington this week. But even as national polls have shown strong public disapproval of the government shutdown, conservative media outlets — on the air, on cable, and on the Internet — have provided a voice of support for Republicans on the Hill and created a like-minded community for their audience.

And it is not just the convervatives...but the media itself.

Fox News, MSNBC, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Rush Limbaugh Show, National Public Radio--with so many options, where do people turn for news? 

In Niche News,Natalie Stroud investigates how people navigate these choices and the political implications that their choice ultimately entails. By combining an analysis of the various news formats that citizens rely on with innovative surveys and experiments, she offers the most comprehensive look to date at the extent to which partisanship influences our media selections. 

At the heart of Niche News is the concept of "partisan selective exposure," a behavior that leads individuals to select news sources that match their own views. This phenomenon helps explain the political forces at work behind media consumption. Just as importantly, she finds that selective exposure also influences how average citizens engage with politics in general. 

On one hand, citizens may become increasingly divided as a result of using media that coheres with their political beliefs; on the other hand, partisan selective exposure may encourage participation. 

Ultimately, Stroud reveals just how intimately connected the mainstream media and the world of politics really are, a conclusion with significant implications for the practice of American democracy.

Her book breaks down into these sections:

1. Partisans Make the News
2. Selective Exposure in Theory and in Practice 
4. Learning Partisan Selectivity
5. Partisan Involvement and Selective Exposure
6. The Heart of the Issue: Partisan Media and Problems Facing the Nation
7. Partisanship and Niche News

NPR radio stories related to this story (click here

Awards and reviews of this book:

International Communications Association Book of the Year, 2012
"American news media and their audiences were proudly partisan during the nation's first century. A long period of nonpartisan news followed. Stroud's richly documented study demonstrates that we have come full circle. An influential partisan press has been reborn, making it easy for audiences to select congenial news only. This intriguing and insightful book explains the profound consequences for the future of American democracy. It's message deserves serious attention."--Doris A. Graber, Professor of Political Science, University of Illinois-Chicago
"A previous generation of scholars concluded that the evidence for selective exposure was uncertain, but Niche News begs to differ. Using a compelling mix of experiments, surveys, and content analysis, Stroud confirms that political partisans increasingly tend to seek out information that comports with their beliefs. Selective exposure is back, and Niche Newsshows why it matters."--Scott L. Althaus, Associate Professor of Communication and Political Science, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
"Stroud's book offers an incisive and useful voice to the scholarly discussion about the extent and effects of partisan selectivity. She offers compelling evidence that partisan selectivity exists and is an important force in media politics. She also brings the path forward into focus. She opens her last chapter by noting,
"Stroud makes a convincing argument that there are both positive and negative aspects to polarized political news reporting. Using primarily quantitative data, the author reveals how audiences use selective exposure, perception, and retention in their news-media choices and political arguments."--D. Caristi, Associate Professor of Telecommunications, Ball State University

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