Echo Chamber

Echo Chamber : Rush Limbaugh and the Conservative Media Establishment

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Rupert Murdoch's recent multibillion-dollar purchase of the Wall Street Journal made international news. Yet it is but one more chapter in an untold story: the rise of an integrated conservative media machine that all began with Rush Limbaugh in the 1980s. Now Kathleen Hall Jamieson and Joseph Cappella - two of the nation's foremost experts on politics and communications - offer a searching analysis of the conservative media establishment, from talk radio to Fox News to the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal. Indeed, here is the first serious account of how the conservative media arose, what it consists of, and how it operates. To show how this influential segment of the media works, the authors examine the uproar that followed when Senator Trent Lott seemed to endorse Strom Thurmond's segregationist past. Limbaugh called the remarks "utterly indefensible," but added that a "double standard" was in play.
That signaled a broad counterattack by the conservative media establishment, charging the mainstream media with hypocrisy (yet using its reports when convenient), creating a knowledge base (a set of facts or allegations for partisans to draw upon), and fostering an in-group identity. By analyzing such cases, together with survey data, Jamieson and Cappella find that Limbaugh, Fox News, and the Wall Street Journal opinion pages create a self-protective enclave for conservatives, shielding them from other information sources, and promoting strongly negative associations with political opponents. Limbaugh in particular, they write, fuses the roles of party leader and opinion leader in a fashion reminiscent of the nineteenth century's partisan newspaper editors. The rise of conservative media has fundamentally changed American politics. This thoughtful study offers the most authoritative and insightful account of this revolutionary phenomenon available today.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 318 pages
  • 149.86 x 228.6 x 15.24mm | 725.74g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 15 black and white line illustrations
  • 0195366824
  • 9780195366822

Review quote

"Readers seeking a carefully researched view of the changing face of news media will be rewarded for their efforts."--Publishers Weekly "Fascinating, illuminating, fun--and also a little scary. Highly recommended, even indispensable, reading for anyone who wants a clear understanding of the current relationship between the media and democratic self-government."--Cass R. Sunstein, Harvard Law School and author of 2.0 "Echo Chamber is powerful, original and an antidote to the 'swift-boating' that poisons our democracy. It is the latest in a series of groundbreaking studies in which Kathleen Hall Jamieson has revealed the inner workings and impact of the forces that shape public opinion and political outcomes in America. Now Jamieson and Joseph Cappella brilliantly pull back the curtain on the right-wing media imperium."--Bob Shrum, author of No Excuses: Concessions of a Serial Campaigner
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Table of contents

Preface; 1. Rush, Fox, and WSJ; 2. Playing Offense: Framing Extreme Supposition, Ridicule, Character Attack, and Negative Emotion; 3. The Identity and Ideology of the Conservative Media Establishment; 4. Speaking to the Republican; 5. Limbaugh as Party Leader; 6. Limbaugh as Party Leader; 7. Framing and Reframing the Mainstream Media; 8. Engendering and Reinforcing Distrust of Mainstream Media; 9. Creating an Insular Interpretive Community; 10. Balkanization of Knowledge and Interpretation; 11. Distort and Polarize; Index
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About Kathleen Hall Jamieson

Kathleen Hall Jamieson is Director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center, which runs Her books include unSpun, Capturing Campaign Dynamics, and The Press Effect. Joseph N. Cappella is Gerard R. Miller Chair at the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania. A nationally recognized communications theorist, he is a past president of the International Communications Association and the co-author (with Kathleen Hall Jamieson) of the award-winning Spiral of Cynicism: The Press and the Public Good.
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Rating details

30 ratings
3.2 out of 5 stars
5 10% (3)
4 33% (10)
3 27% (8)
2 27% (8)
1 3% (1)
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