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News Media Impact on the Ingredients of Presidential Evaluations: Politically Knowledgeable Citizens Are Guided by a Trusted Source
Joanne M. Miller and Jon A. Krosnick
American Journal of Political Science
Vol. 44, No. 2 (Apr., 2000), pp. 301-315
Published by: Midwest Political Science Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2669312
Page Count: 15
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Scholars have uniformly presumed that news media attention to a policy issue increases its impact on presidential job performance evaluations because news coverage enhances the accessibility of beliefs about the issue in citizens' memories, which automatically increases their impact on relevant judgments. The research reported here demonstrates that media coverage of an issue does indeed increase the cognitive accessibility of related beliefs, but this does not produce priming. Instead, politically knowledgeable citizens who trust the media to be accurate and informative infer that news coverage of an issue means it is an important matter for the nation, leading these people to place greater emphasis on that issue when evaluating the President. Thus, news media priming does not occur because politically naive citizens are "victims" of the architecture of their minds, but instead appears to reflect inferences made from a credible institutional source of information by sophisticated citizens.
American Journal of Political Science © 2000 Midwest Political Science Association