Hostile Media Perceptions, Presumed Media Influence, and Political Talk: Expanding the Corrective Action Hypothesis

Hernando Rojas & Matthew Barnidge. (Summer 2014). “Hostile Media Perceptions, Presumed Media Influence, and Political Talk: Expanding the Corrective Action Hypothesis.” International Journal of Public Opinion Research, 26(2), 135-156. DOI: 10.1093/ijpor/edt032

Abstract: The corrective action hypothesis predicts that hostile media perceptions and presumed media influence will be positively related to expressive political behaviors. According to this hypothesis, the presumed influence of biased media makes people attempt to “correct” perceived “wrongs” by voicing their own opinions in the public sphere. This study predicts that people with higher levels of hostile media perceptions and presumed media influence will talk politics more often and will seek out a wider array of viewpoints in political conversation. Analysis of survey data from a national representative sample of adults in Colombia largely supports these hypotheses, and also shows that presumed media influence mediates the relationship between hostile media perceptions and political talk diversity.


Perceptions of the Media and the Public and Their Effects on Political Participation in Colombia

Hernando Rojas, Ben Sayre & Matthew Barnidge. (2014). “Perceptions of the Media and the Public and Their Effects on Political Participation in Colombia.” Mass Communication and Society, 17(5). DOI: 10.1080/15205436.2014.923463

Abstract: This study investigates whether perceptions of the media and the public are related to political participation in Colombia. Communication researchers have built a large body of literature on hostile media perceptions and the projection effect, respectively. This study links these perceptual effects with each other and with political participation. Analyzing survey data from a representative sample of Colombian adults in urban areas, we show a direct relationship between hostile media perceptions and participation, but no direct relationship between projection and participation. Hostile media perceptions and projection are negatively related. Results suggest that perceived media bias attenuates projection, but increases political engagement.


Communication, Consumers, and Citizens: Revisiting the Politics of Consumption

Communication, Consumers, and Citizens: Revisiting the Politics of Consumption, Dhavan V. Shah, Lewis Friedland, Chris Wells, Young Mie Kim, and Hernando Rojas, The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, November 2012.

Abstract: The year 2011 was defined by the intersection of politics and economics: the Wisconsin protests, the Occupy Movement, anti-austerity demonstrations, the Buffett Rule, and so on. These events drew attention to the role of politics in the erosion of labor power, the rise of inequality, and the excesses of overconsumption. Moving beyond periodic and dutiful action directed at an increasingly unresponsive government, citizens tested the boundaries of what we consider civic engagement by embracing personalized forms of “lifestyle politics” enacted in everyday life and often directed at the market. These issues are the focus of this volume, which we divide into four sections. The first section attempts both to situate consumption in politics as a contemporary phenomenon and to view it through a wider historical lens. The second section advances the notion of sustainable citizenship at the individual/group level and the societal/institutional level, and understands consumption as socially situated and structured. Extending this thinking, the third section explores various forms of conscious consumption and relates them to emerging modes of activism and engagement. The fourth section questions assumptions about the effectiveness of the citizen consumer and the underlying value of political consumerism and conscious consumption. We conclude by distilling six core themes from this collection for future work.


Public Broadcasting, Media Engagement, and 2-1-1

“Public Broadcasting, Media Engagement, and 2-1-1: Using Mass Communication to Increase the Use of Social Services,” Dhavan V. Shah, Douglas M. McLeod, Hernando Rojas, Benjamin G. Sayre, Emily Vraga, Rosanne M. Scholl, Clive Jones, and Amy Shaw. American Journal of Preventative Medicine, 43, S443–S449, December, 2012.


Background: The 2008–2009 subprime mortgage crisis was catastrophic, not only for the global economy but for families across the social spectrum. The resultant economic upheaval threatened the livelihoods, well-being, and health of many citizens, who were often unsure where to turn for help. At this critical juncture, public broadcasting stations worked to connect viewers to support resources through 2-1-1.

Purpose: This study was designed to evaluate the ability of public broadcasting to increase the use of information and referral services. Methods: Autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) modeling and regression analysis document the relationship between public broadcasting initiatives and 2-1-1 call volume in 35 highly affected U.S. markets. Time-series data from St. Louis MO were collected and analyzed in 2008. Station-level data from across the nation were collected during 2009–2010 and analyzed in 2010.

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Hostile Public Effect: Communication Diversity and the Projection of Personal Opinions onto Others

Wojcieszak, M. & Rojas, H. (2011).  Hostile public effect: Communication diversity and the projection of personal opinions onto others. Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, 55(4), 543-562.

Abstract: In the context of Colombia, a society with high levels of polarization, this study finds that the projection of individual ideological leanings onto others diminishes with ideological extremity. The findings also show that communication diversity, understood as heterogeneous discussion networks and exposure to ideologically dissimilar news media, is negatively related to projecting one’s leanings on public opinion at large. This study further suggests that expressive Internet uses do not predict projection, and that informational uses are associated with reduced projection. Moreover, dissimilar media exposure moderates the relationship between extremism and projection by further reducing projection among ideologically extreme respondents. Discussion heterogeneity does not exert a similar moderating effect. Implications for future research are discussed.


A Communicative Approach to Social Capital

Hernando Rojas, Dhavan V. Shah, and Lewis A. Friedland (2011) “A Communicative Approach to Social Capital,” Journal of Communication, 61 (4), 689-712, August 2011. DOI: 10.1111/j.1460-2466.2011.01571.x

Abstract: This article advances a communicative approach to social capital that views communication as the fundamental source of societal integration. We contend that integration occurring at the system level via news consumption and at the individual level via interpersonal discussion is amplified through ties at the community level. This cross-level interaction is theorized to encourage civic engagement, writ large, above and beyond the influences of news, talk, or social ties. This perspective distinguishes between the extent of news use and political talk and the orientation toward news consumption and political conversation. We offer evidence that communication variables, specifically news attention and exposure along with conversational frequency and orientation toward conversational understanding, interact with associational membership and network size to foster engagement.


Exploring the Emerging Ecological Communication Paradigm

“There can be no liberty for a community which lacks the information by which to detect lies.”
Walter Lippmann, Liberty and the News (1920)

What are the necessary conditions for a democratic public sphere and engaged civil society under conditions of growing complexity in both communication and social structure?  Further, in an increasingly fragmented and individualized social structure built on weak ties, is it possible to generate sufficient social integration, trust, and solidarity for public decision making beyond the neo-plebiscitary waves of strategic communication that move through elections every few years?  Finally, what are the necessary conditions of public judgment for such decision making, particularly regarding the problem of validity and truth claims in the public sphere? Is it possible for a democratic political system to persist in a so-called “post-truth” era?