Glossary: Public Opinion and the Media in Texas

agenda setting: the media’s ability to choose which issues or topics get attention

agent of political socialization: a person or entity that teaches and influences others about politics through use of information

attitudes: represent the preferences we form based on our life experiences and values; affected by our personal beliefs

bandwagon effect: occurs when the media pays more attention to candidates who poll well during the fall and the first few primaries

beliefs: closely held ideas that support our values and expectations about life and politics

Bradley effect: theory concerning observed discrepancies between voter opinion polls and election outcomes in government elections where a white candidate and non-white candidate run against one another; the theory proposes that some voters who intend to vote for the white candidate would nonetheless tell pollsters that they are undecided or likely to vote for the non-white candidate

covert content: ideologically slanted information presented as unbiased information in order to influence public opinion

cultivation theory: hypothesizes that media develops a person’s view of the world by presenting a perceived reality

episodic framing: occurs when a story focuses on isolated details or specifics rather than looking broadly at a whole issue

favorability polls: a public opinion poll that measures a public's positive feelings about a candidate or politician

mass media: the collection of all media forms that communicate information to the general public

media: the number of different communication formats, from television media to print media

overt content: political information whose author makes clear that only one side is presented

pack journalism: journalists follow one another rather than digging for their own stories, often leading to shallow press coverage

political socialization: the process by which we are trained to understand and join a country’s political world

public opinion: a collection of popular views about something. For example, a person, a local or national event, or a new idea

public relations: biased communication intended to improve the image of people, companies, or organizations

racial framing: a type of media framing in which socially constructed frames about specific racial groups are repackaged and circulated through newspapers, magazines, billboards, music, social media, television, film, and radio; these frames influence media audiences to recall, evaluate, and interpret an issue in particular ways

social media: a set of applications or web platforms that allow users to immediately communicate with one another

thematic framing: takes a broad look at an issue and skips numbers or details; it looks at how the issue has changed over a long period of time and what has led to it