Even as more and more communications avenues open up, are Americans losing their political IQ? Some democratic theorists bemoan citizen apathy, ignorance, and incapacity to make sound political judgments. Renowned media scholar Doris Graber contends that such assessments are based on impractical and outmoded models of measuring citizen awareness and engagement. Using what she calls "reality-based" research methods and a sensitivity to contemporary trends, Graber finds that average people understand many political issues and can think about them in complex ways. She reports her new research on learning from entertainment offerings, emphasizing its novel aspects, including experiments, interviews, message board analyses, and stimulus dramas. The book includes companion studies carried out in the Netherlands and Greece designed to test whether the American findings are culture-specific or hold true across cultural settings. A capstone reflection by a communications authority, On Media offers new approaches to timeworn topics and projects an emerging image of public political knowledge that is at once encouraging, inspirational, and fascinating in its contour and detail.
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Doris A. Graber is a professor of political science at the University of Illinois-Chicago. She has authored or edited numerous books including, most recently, the eighth edition of Media Power in Politics (2010). A Chinese edition of The Power of Communication also appeared in 2010.
"From the nightly news to the Simpsons, Doris Graber explores our civic IQ and tells us how Americans learn about politics. Clearly written and provocative, this book will stimulate discussion and help break down the boundaries between different kinds of media content and how we engage with politics." --Lance Bennett, University of Washington
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