It is often noted that the public is frustrated with the news media. But what do American voters really think about how the media present political information? While studies have examined how the news shapes opinions as well as what people respond to and remember, this is the first book to provide an in-depth analysis of how voters use and evaluate the news media in political elections and the impact these trends have on their use of the news.
Kenneth Dautrich and Thomas H. Hartley performed a four-wave national panel survey of voters during the 1996 presidential campaign. They found that although voters are profoundly dissatisfied with the usefulness of news in helping them make decisions, they are unlikely to stop using the news media or switch media (from network news to public broadcasting, for instance). Thus the media have little incentive to adjust to the needs or wishes of voters.
Here is an important contribution to the debate about the responsibilities of the news media raging among pundits and policymakers.