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Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Media and Congressional Deliberation

In our text, we write about the role of the news media in conveying the details of congressional deliberation. At The Forum, Professor Christine DeGregorio finds:

Whose interests do major news dailies serve when they report on policy debates in Congress? This study compares what members of the U.S. House of Representatives say about major policy with what is later reported in two news dailies: one liberal (Washington Post) and one conservative (Washington Times). The data include one-minute floor speeches by House members (168) and published stories—news and editorials—in the print media (117). Three high-profile policy initiatives of the 107th Congress (2001-2002) anchor the investigation: No Child Left Behind Act (HR 1), Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act (HR 1836), and Airport Security Act (S. 1447). The evidence shows a discrepancy in the perspectives between reporters and officeholders. Where news coverage stresses talk of the president and the process, lawmakers stress the problem and the stakes for the American people. When the debate breaks along party lines, news coverage shows a weak ideological bias that favors Democrats.

DeGregorio, Christine (2011) "Promoting Policy in a Mediated Democracy: Congress and the News," The Forum: Vol. 9: Iss. 1, Article 4.
Available at: 1/art4