Fox News and American Politics: How One Channel Shapes American Politics and Society, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Fox News and American Politics

How One Channel Shapes American Politics and Society, 1st Edition

By Dan Cassino


216 pages | 28 B/W Illus.

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In recent years, scholars have argued that the ability of people to choose which channel they want to watch means that television news is just preaching to the choir, and doesn’t change any minds. However, this book shows that the media still has an enormous direct impact on American society and politics.

While past research has emphasized the indirect effects of media content on attitudes – through priming or framing, for instance – Dan Cassino argues that past data on both the public opinion and the media side wasn’t detailed enough to uncover it. Using a combination of original national surveys, large scale content analysis of news coverage along with data sets as disparate as FBI gun background checks and campaign contribution records, Cassino discusses why it’s important to treat different media sources separately, estimating levels of ideological bias for television media sources as well as the differences in the topics that the various media sources cover. Taking this into account proves that exposure to some media sources can serve to actually make Americans less knowledgeable about current affairs, and more likely to buy into conspiracy theories.

Even in an era of declining viewership, the media – especially Fox News – are shaping our society and our politics. This book documents how this is happening, and shows the consequences for Americans. The quality of journalism is more than an academic question: when coverage focuses on questionable topics, or political bias, there are consequences.


'Dan Cassino expands our understanding of Fox News’ impact on what Americans know about politics and how they respond to political events. Particularly fascinating is the way Prof. Cassino documents Fox’s impact on the 2012 Republican nomination; the dramatic changes in the candidates’ fortunes over time are much better understood by reading this book. But the bigger picture it paints is important as well: the influence of Fox News on American politics is not easily accounted for by simple media framing perspectives. Instead, as Prof. Cassino shows, Fox News not only sets agendas, but its coverage is also linked to measurable behaviors as the choices of what and how it covers politics seem to be able to move viewers with certain tendencies to action. This book will be a valuable addition to any reader’s collection on media and public opinion.' - David Redlawsk, Professor of Political Science, Rutgers University

Table of Contents

1. What’s in the Media? 2. Media Coverage and Presidential Approval 3. The 2012 Republican Primary Election 4. The 2012 Presidential Election 5. Is the News making you stupid? 6. Conspiracy Theories 7. The Media and Society 8. The Daily Show and Alternate Models of the Media

About the Author

Dan Cassino is Associate Professor of Political Science at Fairleigh Dickinson University and Director of Experimental Research for the PublicMind poll. He conducts research on American politics and political psychology.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Political Psychology

Advisory Board: Ted Brader, University of Michigan; Eugene Borgida, University of Minnesota; Marc Ross, Bryn Mawr College and Linda Skitka, University of Illinois, Chicago

Political psychology is dedicated to the analysis of the interrelationships between psychological and political processes. The field is interdisciplinary in nature, bidirectional in influence (the psyche influences political orientation and the polity leaves its mark on who we are), and draws on a broad range of disciplinary sources, including cultural anthropology, history, economics, neuroscience, behavioral genetics, sociology, and organizational behavior. From a psychological perspective, politics is not only about "who gets what" in the material sense; it is also about how psychological predispositions, social identities and bounded information processing capacities fundamentally shape and constrain how individuals interact with their government and society at large.

The Routledge Studies in Political Psychology was developed to publish books representing the widest range of theoretical, methodological and epistemological approaches in political psychology. The series is intended to expand awareness of the creative application of psychological theory within the domain of politics and foster deeper appreciation of the psychological roots of political behavior. We are particularly interested in scholarly monographs, but proposals for edited volumes will also be considered. 

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