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News Grazers

News Grazers
Media, Politics, and Trust in an Information Age

First Edition

January 2018 | 264 pages | CQ Press

How has growing media choice transformed the way we gather news?


News Grazers: Media, Politics, and Trust in an Information Age offers students an integration of the emerging effects that cable news, online news, and social media have had on American politics. Author Richard Forgette, an expert on the U.S. Congress and public policy, draws on direct experimental research to argue that the diffusion of media outlets and media technologies has resulted in an increasingly fragmented and distracted news audience. This unprecedented level of media choice is not only altering who accesses the news and how they do it; more important, it is changing the news itself.

With chapters on commentary news, partisan news, breaking news, and fake news, News Grazers gives students the tools they need to critically analyze the ever-shifting media landscape. Special attention is also paid to the effects of the media and political trust on the 2016 election. 

Chapter 1: Why Don’t We Trust Congress and the Media?
News Grazing

The Evolution of Media Choice and Screening

The Birth of News Grazers

News Grazing and Congressional Distrust


Chapter 2: The News Grazer
Selective Exposure

The News-Grazing Decision: Practices and Theories

News Grazing: Trends and Analysis


Chapter 3: News Makers and Producers: The Emergence of Commentary News
Selling the News: Is News a Private or Public Good?

The News Makers

Adaptations and Strategies: Making Commentary News

The News Producers

New Media Strategies: Producing Commentary News


Chapter 4: Partisan News
Understanding News Opinion

Evaluating the Effects of Opinion News


Chapter 5: Breaking News
Understanding News Urgency

The Effects of News Urgency on Attitudes toward Congress


Chapter 6: Fake News
Fake News and Political Trust

Fake Satirical News: Evolution, Audience, and Content

Political Satire and Public Attitudes Toward Congress: Why and How Does Political Satire Matter?

Assessing the Effects of Political Satire on Congressional Cynicism


Chapter 7: Overexposed
A Summary of the News-Grazing Theory

An Overexposed Congress: Does It Matter?

An Overexposed Media: Does It Matter?


Appendix I: Breaking-News Experiment: Pretest/Post-Test Script
Appendix II: Satirical News Experiment: Pretest/Post-Test Script
About the Author
Key features


  • Coverage of the media’s effects on the 2016 election encourages students to discuss the election while taking into account the broader theoretical concerns about changing news consumption habits and declining political trust.
  • The chapter on partisan news helps students understand the impact of politically polarized news audiences.
  • The chapter on fake news offers students current examples of the political impact of this phenomenon.
  • Examples of the ways in which Americans increasingly have become news grazers show students how growing media choice has transformed how we gather news and is resulting in an increasingly distracted news audience.
  • Discussions about the development of commentary news show how producers have combined drama, opinion, immediacy, and entertainment with straight news content—allowing students to see the impact that this form of news has on the public’s trust in Congress and the media. 

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