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Mass Media and American Politics

Mass Media and American Politics

Tenth Edition
Additional resources:

Media & Politics

August 2017 | 536 pages | CQ Press

Mass Media and American Politics is the most comprehensive and best book for political communication. This text has made it easy for my students to learn about research and theory related to political journalism and the political communication system in America. It has great utility and insight while being comprehensive but not overwhelming for students.” —Jason Martin, DePaul University

Known for its readable introduction to the literature and theory of the field, Mass Media and American Politics is a trusted, comprehensive look at media's impact on attitudes, behavior, elections, politics, and policymaking. This Tenth Edition is thoroughly updated to reflect major structural changes that have shaken the world of political news and examines the impact of the changing media landscape. It includes timely examples from the 2016 election cycle to illustrate the significance of these changes.


This classic text balances comprehensive coverage and cutting-edge theory, shows students how the media influence governmental institutions and the communication strategies of political elites, and illustrates how the government shapes the way the media disseminate information. Written by Doris A. Graber—a scholar who has played an enormous role in establishing and shaping the field of mass media and American politics—and Johanna Dunaway, this book sets the standard.

FREE POSTER: Fact or Fiction? Use this checklist to avoid the pitfalls posed by the rise of fake news

Tables, Figures, and Boxes
About the Authors
PART I: Media Purpose and Structure
1 Media Power and Government Control
Political Importance of Mass Media  
Functions of Mass Media  
Who Should Control News Making?  
Models of News Making  
2 Ownership, Regulation, and Guidance of Media
Control and Ownership: Public and Semipublic  
Patterns of Private Ownership  
The Costs and Benefits of Big Business Control  
The Regulation/Deregulation Debate  
Pressures by Media Associations and Advertisers  
Citizen Lobby Control  
3 Press Freedom and the Law
Censorship in the Twenty-First Century  
The Public and Freedom of the Press  
Policy Limits on the Press  
Access to the Media  
Public Access to Information  
Transparency, Secrecy, and National Security  
Individual Rights versus the Public’s Right to Know  
4 Media and Politics in the Changing Media Landscape
The Expansion of Choice  
Media Polarization and Selective Exposure  
Changing News Habits and Political Journalism  
Political Campaigns and Campaigning  
Digital Democracy?  
Engagement, Citizenship, and Civic Life  
PART II: Who and What Makes the News?
5 News-Making and News-Reporting Routines
Profile Sketch of U.S. Journalists  
Effects of Gatekeeping  
Reporting Extraordinary Events  
Covering Pseudo-Crises  
6 The Media as Policy Makers
The Ethics of Melding Political Activism with Journalism  
Manipulative Journalism in Perspective  
Muckraking Models  
Journalists as Political Actors  
Agenda Building  
Documentaries and Docudramas  
Methods: Fair and Foul  
7 The Struggle for Control: News from the Presidency
The Adversarial Relationship  
The Media and the Executive Branch  
8 Media Coverage of Congress and the Courts
The Media and Congress  
Writing Stories about Congress  
The Media and the Courts  
News about Crime and the Justice System  
9 State and Local News
Covering State and Local Affairs  
The Content of Subnational News  
Decline of Mainstream State Venues and the New Venues  
10 Foreign Affairs Coverage
The Foreign News Niche  
Making Foreign News  
Wars in the Modern Age  
PART III: Media Effects
11 Media Influence on Attitudes and Behavior
Differential Effects of News  
The Role of Media in Political Socialization  
Patterns in Socialization  
Choosing Media Stories  
How People Learn  
Learning Effects: Knowledge and Attitudes  
Learning Effects: Behavior  
12 Elections in the Digital Era
The Consequences of Media-Dominated Politics  
Media Content  
What People Learn from Campaign Coverage  
13 Incivility, Negativity, and Bias in the Media
Bias in the News  
Affective Biases  
Information Biases  
Ideological and Partisan Biases  
Causes of Bias  
Effects of Bias  
PART IV: Current Trends and Future Directions
14 Current Trends and Future Directions
Appraising News Making  
The Impact of Digital Technologies  
Regulation as a Barrier to Development  
The Shape of the Future  


Instructor Site
  • Microsoft® Word test bank, is available containing multiple choice, true/false, and essay questions for each chapter. The test bank provides you with a diverse range of pre-written options as well as the opportunity for editing any question and/or inserting your own personalized questions to effectively assess students’ progress and understanding.
  • Editable, chapter-specific Microsoft® PowerPoint® slides offer you complete flexibility in easily creating a multimedia presentation for your course. Highlight essential content and features.
  • Multimedia content includes links to video, audio, data, and web resources that appeal to students with different learning styles and prompts classroom discussion.

Mass Media and American Politics is the best, most comprehensive book for political communication. This text has made it easy for my students to learn about research and theory related to political journalism and the political communication system in America. It has great utility and provides insight, and while being all-inclusive, is not overwhelming for students.”

Jason Martin
DePaul University

Mass Media and American Politics is expansive, drawing insights from political science, media studies, psychology, and many other fields. This excellent book provides students with a clear guide to the intersection of politics and journalism.”

John Pitney, Jr.
Claremont McKenna College

“I have always felt that Mass Media and American Politics is quite simply the best of the broad media textbooks out there. I don’t expect to be switching to another in the foreseeable future.”

Tyler Johnson
University of Oklahoma

Mass Media and American Politics is a great text.  I like the balance it strikes in its academic approach to the study of media and the study of politics. Graber and Dunaway do a great job of tying the two topics together successfully and showcasing how these separate entities are not mutually exclusive.”

Emily Wanless
Augustana University
Key features


  • Coverage of major changes in campaign strategy, political reporting, and news consumption brought about by digital and social media including numerous updated examples from the 2016 election cycle and Trump administration.

  • Packed with updated statistics on trends in usage of digital and social media.

  • This edition includes up-to-the-minute recent scholarship on the political relevance of changes in digital and social media proliferation, especially growth in their use for news.

  • Newest research and data on web traffic, explosion of mobile use for news, mobile web traffic and mobile ad revenues.



  • The book’s broad coverage has three focal points:
    • the purpose and structure of media;
    • the ways in which the news media cover government and politics; and
    • its impact on the attitudes and behaviors of ordinary Americans and political elites.
  • Photos, political cartoons, screen shots, and data featured in tables, figures, and maps provide additional pedagogy.
  • Inclusion of the impact of media fragmentation on politics, audiences, and the news.
  • Analysis of digital and social media, including blogging, social networking, data analytics, and the impact of mobility and the expansion of media choice.
  • An overview of technology, information leaks, press freedoms, and national security in the post 9/11 world.

For instructors

Review and Desk copies for this title are available digitally via VitalSource.

Request e-review copy

If you require a print review copy, please call: (800) 818-7243 ext. 6140 or email

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