ERIC Number: ED232204
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-May
Reference Count: 0
Uni- Versus Multidimensional Comparison of Political Groups.
Shoemaker, Pamela J.
Journalists view the left-right continuum as a dimension on which political entities array themselves in order to vie for a similarly arrayed public. Such a spatial measuring device is useful, since it allows journalists to compare political entities on a common scale that readers supposedly understand and on which they can relate their own political positions. However, the use of this unidimensional scale has come under attack by researchers who argue that to better serve their readers journalists need to use a multidimensional approach in identifying political groups and actors. To test the hypothesis that the unidimensional scale is as good a predictor of a journalist's characterization of a group as a legitimate political contender as is a multidimensional approach, news and political editors from 57 of the largest daily newspapers in the United States were asked to place 11 groups on four scales: the traditional unidimensional scale, and three scales measuring similarity of the groups to most Americans, amount of change advocated by the groups, and how the editor felt about the groups. The results supported the hypothesis, suggesting that journalists think in ideological terms and regularly array political entities on the left-right scale. If, as the critics of this scale suggest, the general audience is composed of less politically knowledgeable people, then the ideological information provided in news reports may not provide adequate information for the average reader to evaluate a political group. (FL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Conservatism; Editors; Liberalism
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the International Communication Association (Dallas, TX, May 26-30, 1983).