Who follows whom? : The impact of parties on media agenda formation in the 1997 British general election campaign

Brandenburg, Heinz (2002) Who follows whom? : The impact of parties on media agenda formation in the 1997 British general election campaign. Harvard International Journal of Press-Politics, 7 (3). pp. 34-54. ISSN 1081-180X

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Abstract

This study provides a first step toward filling a gap in our understanding of the sources of issue salience and of the ability of political actors to manipulate the dimensions of social choice. It investigates how daily issue agendas of political parties and the news media (press and television) affected each other during the 1997 U.K. general election campaign. Using a time-series cross-section design (including data on nine different policy dimensions), ordinary least squares regressions with panel-corrected standard errors show that TV news broadcasts responded systematically to preceding issue selection by both the Labour party and the Conservatives. While the press seemed to respond predominantly to stimuli by the Conservatives, none of the parties were influenced in their agenda choices by any of the media outlets.