Politicians and the Press: Who Leads, Who Follows?
Bartels, Larry M.
his paper examines the interplay between
politicians and the press in setting the national policy agenda.
The data for the analysis consist of daily counts
of executive branch activities,
congressional activities, New York Times stories, local newspaper stories,
and ABC News coverage of Bosnia, Medicare, NAFTA, and
Whitewater during the first three years of the Clinton administration.
Vector autoregressions suggest
that all three media outlets (and the politicians themselves) followed
the lead of the executive branch on Bosnia and NAFTA and of Congress
on Medicare and Whitewater.
However, New York Times coverage led political activities even more than
it followed them, with especially strong agenda-setting effects
for NAFTA and Whitewater. The independent
agenda-setting power of ABC News was substantially less than
that of the Times, but still considerable,
while local newspapers tended, by and large, to follow the lead of
politicians and the national news media. Prepared for
presentation at the Annual Meeting of the American Political
Science Association, San Francisco, September 1996.
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