Politicians’ reticence to communicate their views clearly increases the information asymmetry between them and the electorate. This study tested the potential of subtle ideological cues to redress the balance. By spotlighting visual rather than the already much-examined verbal cues, we sought to contribute to building theory on cue effects. Specifically, we aimed to determine whether the effects from the literature on verbal cues could also be shown for visual ones. We used an experiment ( N = 361) to test the effects of subtle backdrop cues (SBCs), that is, of visual cues to ideology embedded in the background of political images. We manipulated photos of a fictitious politician to include liberal or conservative SBCs. We embedded these images in Twitter posts and tested whether they influenced perceptions of the politician’s ideology and the intention to vote for him. We analyzed the relationship between exposure to SBCs, the politician’s perceived political ideology, and voting intention—including the study of conditional effects elicited by cue awareness and ideological consistency between the depicted politician and participant. The conditional process analysis suggested that SBCs mattered, as they influenced citizens’ perceptions of a politician’s political ideology, and consequently, voting intention. These effects were moderated by cue awareness and ideological consistency. We concluded that SBCs can elicit substantial effects and that their use by politicians is paying off.
PurposeThis article seeks to analyse the skills and knowledge that have a positive impact on the reproduction of the core frames of social actors in the mass media.Design/methodology/approachThe theoretical discussion is accompanied by a cross‐cultural case study of the debate surrounding the leaked e‐mail correspondence between climate researchers at the University of East Anglia (UEA) in 2009. First, the authors analysed the framing work of the three main actors with their respective views, namely UEA and the blogs “Real climate”, “Climate audit” and “The air vent”. Second, they conducted an analysis of the media coverage of the issue in the UK, the USA, Germany and Norway, focusing on the importance of cultural factors, psychological biases and conformity to journalistic needs.FindingsThe literature review came to the conclusion that public relations practitioners stand good chances to succeed with their framing when they are able to conceive a message in a way that: is resonant with the underlying culture; appeals to psychological biases; and conforms to journalistic needs. The authors use “framing expertise” as an umbrella term for the knowledge and the skills related to these aspects when designing and promoting frames. In the case study, these theoretical assumptions were tested. While three different frames dominated the discourse, no clear winner of the framing contest was observed. Though qualitative differences in their framing expertise were noted, the frames of all of the strategic actors were accepted in the media, perhaps due to the norms of journalistic balance.Research limitationsAs this study is based on a single case, more research is needed to back up the findings and elaborate on the knowledge and skills needed when framing an issue.Originality/valueThe article pulls together, discusses and elaborates on a body of literature that thus far has been scattered, and makes contributions towards a better understanding of what it is that public relations practitioners actually do.
Actors aiming to remedy the effects of health misinformation often issue corrections focused on individual outcomes (i.e., promoting individual health behaviors) rather than societal outcomes (i.e., reducing issue polarization). Yet, for highly politicized health crises like the COVID-19 pandemic, such interventions run the risk of exacerbating societal cleavages, driving those holding opposing views further apart from one another. Interventions yielding individual benefits but causing societal harm are certainly not ideal. But is the design of such dual-focus corrections even possible? We believe this to be the case. Here, we delineate an agenda for future research that should help social scientists in identifying the characteristics of corrections that might reduce false beliefs without increasing polarization.
The use of antibiotics in agriculture contributes to antimicrobial resistance. We surveyed German farmers ( n = 336) on their intention to adopt alternative antimicrobial agents (AAA) and used the diffusion of innovations approach as a theoretical guide. (1) Farmers’ views regarding the relative advantage and complexity of AAA, (2) their use of and trust in information sources and channels, and (3) various individual and organizational characteristics were entered as predictors in two explorative models. While farmers’ intention to adopt AAA was generally very high, selected variables in all three categories predicted variations in the intensity of the adoption intention.
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