The media environment is changing. Today in the United States, the average viewer can choose from hundreds of channels, including several twenty-four hour news channels. News is on cell phones, on iPods, and online; it has become a ubiquitous and unavoidable reality in modern society. The purpose of this book is to examine systematically, how these differences in access and form of media affect political behaviour. Using experiments and new survey data, it shows how changes in the media environment reverberate through the political system, affecting news exposure, political learning, turnout, and voting behavior.
1. Introduction; 2. Conditional political learning; Part I. The Participatory Effects of Media Choice: 3. Broadcast television, political knowledge, and turnout; 4. From low choice to high choice: the impact of cable tv and internet on news exposure, political knowledge, and turnout; 5. From low choice to high choice: does greater media choice affect total news consumption and average turnout?; Part II. The Political Effects of Media Choice: 6. Broadcast television, partisanship, and the incumbency advantage; 7. Partisan polarization in the high-choice media environment; 8. Divided by choice: audience fragmentation and political inequality in the post-broadcast media environment.
Winner, 2010 Doris Graber Outstanding Book Award, Political Communication, American Political Science Association
Winner, 2009 Goldsmith Prize, Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy
Winner, 2008 Emerging Scholar Award, Election, Public Opinion, and Voting Behavior Section, American Political Science Association
2007 CHOICE Magazine Outstanding Academic Title
Finalist, 2007 Frank Luther Mott / Kappa Tau Alpha Research Book Award
"[Markus Prior] presents a highly compelling story by building his case carefully and thoroughly using a wide array of data, aggregate and individual, covering many decades and areas ranging from the history of broadcasting to activities of Congressional incumbents...the prose is lucid and easy to follow."
-Keiko Ono, Millikin University, The Journal of Politics
“This account of the effects of media environment on politics is important, well argued, and clearly documented. Prior argues that the shift from a low-choice environment of broadcast television dominance to the world of cable and Internet choices has changed the behavior of the electorate. While ‘news junkies’ can consume more news, fans of entertainment turn increasingly to other options…Prior’s analysis of the consequences is both new and noteworthy. He argues that because entertainment fans follow news less frequently now, they will vote less frequently…Prior's ‘inequality by choice’ argument contrasts with the ‘digital divide’ argument based on skills and resources…Those interested in media or broader issues of American political behavior will find much to ponder here. Summing Up: Highly recommended.”
-J. Heyrman, Berea College, Choice
2007 Outstanding Academic Title -- Choice Magazine
"[Prior] presents a highly compelling story by building his case carefully and thoroughly using a wide array of data, aggregate and individual, covering many decades and areas ranging from the history of broadcasting to activities of Congressional incumbents. Despite the complexity of the question asked and multiple methods used, the prose is lucid and easy to follow."
Journal of Politics, Keiko Ono, Millikin University