Media & Politics


Desensitization: Laura Miller

Media Effects and Politics

Dina E., Kennedy C., Emily J., Rob D., Laura M. Continue reading “Media Effects and Politics”

Changing Times

Laura Miller

March 30, 2016

With the rise in social media over the last decade and even the last four years since the last presidential election, has come new ways for candidates to break into our lives and for us to influence each other. Social media has become an added feature of our lives and could be used as a way to grab at our attention to break through our desensitized lives that are filled with massive amounts of media. How often do we just scroll through our news feeds filled with cat videos, beach pictures, and the occasional life update? What grabs attention is the controversy and personal aspect of politics that can appear on social media.

According to Pew Research Center, 66% of social media users have used social media for political activities. In media environments filled with controversy and violence, it is to be expected that conflicts arise on social media sites among “friends” from the posting or sharing of political thoughts and ideas. Social media is a tool used to reconnect, hang out, and get to know people better thus enabling people to be friends with their inner circle of friends to their acquaintances and coworkers. With the large diverse groups of friends that one can have it is not surprising that according to Pew Research Center, 73% of a users friends on average either “only sometimes” or “never agree”.


Pew Research Center: Who uses social networking sites and Twitter

In addition to the rise in social media use among everyday people, political candidates are using this new social world. Trump has used Twitter to bash on his political competition and create controversy through the medium. He has over four million followers on Twitter to catch his remarks and comments. This new addition of wide social media usage marks the third time that technology has changed the game of politics with the prior times being the result of radio and television.

Social media allows political candidates to be more transparent and for the public to become better informed about events and become engaged with candidates on a more personal level. Obama recently encouraged Federal agencies to use social media to inform and engage the public.

With the rise of social media, the political environment is changing.  Political figures are using these new forms to reach new audiences and break through the clutter of other media people are surrounded by.


How Social Media is Ruining Politics-Nicholas Carr

Pew Research Center-Politics Fact Sheet

Social Media Policy-US Department of the Interior

Photo Credits:

Political Cartoon

Surrounding Violence

Laura Miller

March 23, 2016

Violence and horror too often exist around the world. This week the world was struck again with devastation and horror at the Brussels terrorist attacks from terrorist group ISIS.

Most often the theory of desensitization with regard to media refers to violence. The assumption is that people are exposed to large amounts of violence and thus become almost immune to it. This assumption falls into the social learning theory aspect of media suggesting that people learn what they are exposed to and in this case for the detriment of society.

The spread of information through social media especially about violence around the world spreads like wildfire as can be seen through this time-lapse of tweets that include the word “Brussels.” Violence catches our attention quickly as can be see by the quick spread of word of the attacks.

“Brussels” twitter spread from Washington Post

In light of these attacks, politicians in the US are using the attacks as a public relations tool to try to gain additional supporters for the upcoming elections by discussing their policies and ideas on terrorism and Muslim groups. This happened earlier in the presidential campaign following the Paris attacks as immigration and national policy positions began to be established by the front-runners. Once again, politicians like Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, and Ted Cruz are using these new attacks to better position themselves in the eyes of the American people and world.

CNN Presidential candidates weigh in on Brussels attacks

Hillary Clinton discusses doing more than just building a wall like Donald Trump has been suggesting throughout his entire campaign. As discussed in my last post about breaking through the clutter on Super Tuesday, Clinton uses this opportunity to also create a small amount of controversy by bashing potential opponents Ted Cruz and Donald Trump and their stereotype reactions towards Muslims following the attacks.

Clinton bashes Trump, Cruz for rhetoric on Muslims, torture

Have we become so numb to violence that it requires us to use it for the advantage of our position as we have seen these politicians do?


CNN-Terror attacks reverberate in presidential race-Stephen Collinson

Washington Post- Clinton bashes Trump, Cruz for rhetoric on Muslims, torture

Washington Post- Watch how news of the attacks in Brussels spread across Twitter- Andrea Peterson

Research in Media Effects- Roger Wimmer and Joseph Dominick

Photo credits:

Political cartoon

Breaking through on a Super Tuesday

Laura Miller

March 15, 2016

Yet another important Tuesday has come and gone as today primaries took place across the country in Florida, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina, and Ohio. In this political season, it is even more important for news outlets to inform audiences about political topics. Continue reading “Breaking through on a Super Tuesday”

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