The 2012 Presidential Campaign: A Communication Perspective (Communication, Media, and Politics)

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These included general information that required no interpretation e. These three options can be understood as an initial judgment by the coders after having watched the ad on how it came across generally. The category of negative statements was measured by coders counting the number of negative verbal spoken statements per ad. Whenever a statement would recur, it would be counted again, i.

This number was then inserted directly into SPSS without further judgment of how negative the statements issued were, allowing for this category to be less interpretative on intensity of statements. Similarly, the category of negative images looked at the number of negative visuals, including images as well as written words that were featured in an ad. Here, coders identified negative imagery from a Western point of view.

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Accordingly, items were counted and documented by frequency of negativity and not degree of negativity. For U. For both categories multiple candidate options were provided that could be chosen. For the attack who category, Kappa reliability remained perfect for French coding and was 0. More specifically, this item differentiate between whether an ad was attacking the personal characteristics of an opponent or the issue stands of an opponent.

An additional code was developed to include attacks within ads that utilized both personal characteristics and issues stances jointly. The final interpretive category considered in this study distinguished the creative production of the video along professional and amateur lines. Specifically, this category indicated whether an ad was officially sponsored by a candidate and professionally produced, or it an ad was made by an amateur individual or interest group by either using their own footage or dynamically adapting official material to produce a different ad.

For both countries, reliability checks produced perfect agreement. For all categories reported here, the intercoder reliability scores were based on subsamples of 15 videos for each country. Results clearly indicate a reliable level of agreement above. A total of political advertisements online were analyzed, with 71 regarding the French presidential election and 73 the American presidential campaign.

Before reporting on hypotheses testing, it is worth noting some additional features and comparisons of these online political media across countries. Perhaps most importantly, there were far more views of the American ads, on average , American ads, however, were shorter In terms of production, It can therefore be reported that, as expected, American presidential candidates did use a greater number of negative as opposed to neutral or positive campaign advertisements online than did French presidential candidates. In this sample, While the number of positive ads were fairly comparable Hypothesis 1b predicted that the online campaign advertisements of American presidential candidates would feature more negative statements and images than French presidential candidates, and was also supported.

Here, the average level of negative statements and images per online American ad was Examining this outcome further, a one—way analysis of variance ANOVA compared the average negativity levels of all candidates. All candidates are summarized in Table 1 , but it is worth pointing out that the online ads of Ron Paul were most negative, on average, with All other candidate ads were not significantly different from one another in terms of their average level of negative statements and images.

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Finally, online American and French campaign ads were analyzed for their differences in who was negatively portrayed, or attacked, in their presentation. What this finding indicates, and is shown in Figure 1 , is that American ads online were more negative on average than French ads online whether the subject of the attack was from the political left, right, or on general mainstream politics or government establishments. The results of all these statistical analyses provide robust support for Hypotheses 1a and 1b, and the general idea that American political culture and campaign ads — now online — are more negative than comparable French politics and advertisements.

Hypotheses 2a predicted that American presidential candidates would use a greater number of campaign advertisements online that attack personal characteristics than French presidential candidates. Relatedly, Hypothesis 2b expected that French presidential candidates would use a greater number of campaign advertisements online that attack issue stances than American presidential candidates. When looking more closely at the distribution of campaign advertisements online that attacked personal characteristics, just This outcome is perfectly opposite the expectation of H2a.

In addition, there was also a noticeable difference between French A third category attack type ads were also considered that included attacks on both issues and personal characteristics. This combined or dual—focused attack type of online campaign ad was more popular with American candidates, at Nonetheless, this finding suggests it may be imprudent to reject H2a and H2b outright and fully.

While it is clear that these hypotheses did not accurately identify the appropriate location for more frequent issue and personal characteristic attacks, the combined category suggests a need for more nuance in conceptualizing campaign ads, and there may be a greater intensity of negativity in ads with combined attack types. This proposition was expressly considered in analyzing Hypothesis 2c, which predicted an interaction between attack type and country such that the negativity of American personal characteristic ads is greater than French personal characteristic ads whereas the negativity of French issue ads is greater than American issue ads.

Likewise, French issue ads met expectations in being more negative, with an average of Most interestingly, however, may have been the average negativity level of ads that combined attacks on both personal characteristics and issues stances. As summarized in Figure 2 , this difference is the most drastic across American and French online campaign ads. Moreover, these findings support the key presumptions of H2c and introduce conceptual space for further study of combined personal characteristic and issue—based advertisements.

This study set out to examine presidential election advertising as it transforms in online social media spaces by comparing the French and American campaigns of Some interesting basic features could be observed at first glance — specifically that American ads were viewed, on average, nearly 39 times more frequently than were French ads, and that American ads were overall about 33 seconds shorter. In addition, there was strong evidence for the notion that American and French political cultures would be reflected in the level of negativity observed in campaign ads online, which follows the conceptual work of Benson Hypothesis 1a was supported by findings that showed there were more American ads with a negative overall tone, and Hypothesis 1b found that the average level of negativity in American campaign ads online was greater than that of French ads.

This finding coincides with media comparisons of McKenzie as well as Tak, et al. Additional analysis confirmed specific American candidates, Ron Paul in particular, had highly negative ads, and that American ads were more negative on average overall than French online campaign ads, regardless of which party or establishment was being targeted in the ads. Nonetheless, the importance of the findings reported here seem balanced between this support and the unexpected outcomes related to personal characteristic and issue—based attack advertising.

Against H2a, and the idea that American ads were be more regularly based on personal attacks, there were fewer American ads focused on personal characteristics than characteristic—based French ads. Likewise, H2b results did not seem to fully support the transfer of a more indirect and deliberative French political culture with fewer French ads that attacked candidates on issue stances than American issue—based ads.

Somewhat unsurprising, though not explicitly hypothesized, a combined or dual—focused attack type of online campaign ad was more popular with American candidates than French candidates. This finding seems to signal a greater need for more sophisticated measurement of complex advertising techniques as well as identifying impact of ads that combined attacks on both personal characteristics and issues stances see Geer, ; Johnston and Kaid, Here, in contributing to support of H2c, this ad type had the lowest average level of negativity of French online campaign ads but the highest negativity level of American ads.

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In addition, though the frequency of negativity was not supported for personal characteristic and issue attacks for H2a and H2b, the intensity or average level of negativity by country did match those expectations as further probed by H2c. Altogether, these findings suggest at least limited but reasonable support for French and American online campaign advertising to match expectations derived from their respective political and media cultures.

As such, there seems to be good reason to conclude that as broadcasting in general and political advertising in particular continue to transform in the converged co—produced media environment, prevailing political and media cultures will remain relevant to the modes of rhetoric and discourse in media texts Groshek and Engelbert, Tellingly, though not advanced in hypotheses, despite a nearly equivalent split in the production of ads approximately 80 percent were professionally produced in both America and France , there was a statistically significant interaction on the average level of negativity between nation and production type [ 14 ].

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Fitting social media into the media landscape during a republican primary. This paper will explore; 1 how an historic and traditional entity necessary for government, commerce, and civility—in other words, diplomacy —has been impacted by Web 2. While it is clear that these hypotheses did not accurately identify the appropriate location for more frequent issue and personal characteristic attacks, the combined category suggests a need for more nuance in conceptualizing campaign ads, and there may be a greater intensity of negativity in ads with combined attack types. The goal was not to be a public relations or propaganda machine, as that would damage the one essential component of the public diplomacy communication process: credibility of the source. Plavsak, K. Until recently, however, most commercials have only been broadcasted on television or radio , which are hierarchical one—to—many media with stricter gatekeepers and regulations. Assuming it can be confirmed through additional research, this relationship is especially relevant given the strong association between perceptions of a group's efficacy and engagement in civic activities.

As has been well—noted throughout this study, American ads were more negative on average than their French counterpart ads, and that finding remained consistent whether the ads were official, professionally produced or created by amateurs. Putting this finding into perspective with the fact that French campaign ads had drastically less views online in addition to fewer comments, likes, and favorites as compared to American ads [ 15 ] seems to suggest something about the maturation and behavior of national online audiences.

In the sample of online American campaign ads considered here, non—professional media creators have pushed the level of negativity beyond what was observed from candidates themselves, and videos that generally were broadcast on television. This audience is also very large in number of views and highly active in making contributions such as likes and comments in social media spaces, and as might be expected, their content is pushing the boundaries of negativity seen traditional broadcast video norms Baum and Groeling, Given that the data analyzed in this study is effectively cross—sectional in nature, it is not possible to track the trend of negativity in online campaign videos, which makes it difficult to determine what, exactly, these findings suggest for French advertising or political culture.

While it is possible that the online French audience will grows in views and online activities, and concurrently non—professional online media producers might well come to morph into and emulate the negativity of non—professional American media co— creators. Alternatively, these non—professional media producers in France could equally extend the tone of their political and media culture, but to a drastically less negative degree — in this manner they could be seen to be patterning the same type of boundary negotiation as their American counterparts here in the opposite direction.

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Though this study can unfortunately not accurately predict the future of online campaign advertising in either France or the U. As that vital trend progresses in both countries, online ad negativity should be examined further and in greater detail with data from professional and non—professional ad producers in the future to develop a better sense of context and change over time see also Gurevitch, et al. While it was not possible to accomplish that objective here, this study still provides key comparative insights as to the negativity of presidential campaign advertising as it transitions in the online social media environment.

Evidence presented here suggests that political and media cultures remain central considerations in the production of political ads Sayre, et al.

Agendas and frames advanced within these ads still seem to flow largely from the candidates and the cultures, but there are at least indications that this direction may evolve Williams, et al. E—mail: nb [at] student [dot] eur [dot] nl. E—mail: hs [at] student [dot] eur [dot] nl. E—mail: jgroshek [at] gmail [dot] com. Differences between French and America ads in terms of both the mean number of views t Differences between French and America ads in terms of the mean number of comments t Baum and T.

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Groeling, Benson, Brader, Chang, Clinton and J. Lapinski, Croteau and W. Hoynes, Media society: Industries, images, and audiences. Third edition. Thousand Oaks, Calif. Dimitrova and J. Franz and T. Ridout, Freedman, M. Franz, and K. Goldstein, Fridkin and P. Kennedy, Geer, In defense of negativity: Attack ads in presidential campaigns. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Gibson, Greengard, Groshek and J.

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Engelbert, Gurevitch, S. Coleman, and J. Blumler, Hallin and P. Mancini, Comparing media systems: Three models of media and politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Hermida, Johnston and L.

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Kaid, Kaid and A. Johnston, Videostyle in presidential campaigns: Style and content of televised political advertising. Westport, Conn. King and J. McConnell, Kirk and D. Character was a more frequent topic than policy; the relative proportion of these two topics did not change over time. Visual symbols discussed character even more than verbal symbols.

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