The Emotional Landscape of the American Media

Awarded Scholars:
Erin Cikanek , University of Michigan
Project Date:
May 2019
Award Amount:
$9,926

As recently as the 2016 Presidential election, media outlets and politicians  invoked the emotional experiences of various groups in the electorate to help explain electoral successes and failures. To explain Trump’s victory, media coverage assumed that white men were experiencing “economic anxiety” or that the electorate was fearful of Secretary Clinton. Recent work in political science has pushed back against this notion, arguing that the activation of group identities and misinformation help explain the election outcomes. By examining the variation in emotional cues in news, this research will be one of the first to map the emotional landscape of the news environment citizens experience during campaigns.

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