GLOCOM Platform
debates Media Reviews Tech Reviews Special Topics Books and Journals
Summary Page
Search with Google
Home > Books & Journals > Journal Abstracts Last Updated: 09:47 05/18/2007
Journal Abstracts #280: May 18, 2007

Japanese Journal of Political Science

Journal Name: Japanese Journal of Political Science:
April 2007, Vol. 8, No. 1

ISSN: 1468-1099

Research Articles

Introduction: Changing Media, Changing Politics (pp1-6)

In 2003 Ikuo Kabashima and Samuel Popkin invited Professors Masaki Taniguchi, Gill Steel, Susan Shirk, Jay Hamilton and Matthew Baum to join with them in charting a new path for research on the ways changing media are changing politics. In the last two decades, media studies have moved beyond claims of minimal effects by demonstrating how various characteristics of news stories-point of view (framing), connection to political offices (priming), emotional content, or causal implications- affect public opinion and voting. (Iyengar and Kinder 1987; Iyengar 1991; Sniderman, Brody and Tetlock 1991) Here we examine the ways in which changing communications technologies change the issue content of news consumed by the public and political competition within and between parties.

News That Sells: Media Competition and News Content (pp7-42)
JAMES T. HAMILTON (Sanford Institute of Public Policy, Duke University)

This paper explores the economic factors that influence news coverage and discusses the difficulties of determining the impact of news content on political outcomes. Evidence from the United States clearly shows how supply and demand concepts can be used to predict content in newspapers, television, and the Internet. To demonstrate how the concept of market-driven news extends beyond the US, I trace out hypotheses about how media content in many countries should vary depending on three factors in news markets: the motivations of media outlet owners, the technologies of information dissemination available, and the property rights that govern how information is created and conveyed. I offer three different types of analyses - the measurement of product differentiation, information search patterns, and consumption patterns - to show how these ideas about competition influencing content could be tested across countries. The paper briefly discusses the degree to which market competition affects content in three Asian countries (China, Thailand, and Japan) and concludes with a section on the difficulties of designing policies to improve the operation of media markets.

Changing Media, Changing Foreign Policy in China (pp43-70)
SUSAN L. SHIRK (Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies, University of California, San Diego)

China has undergone a media revolution that has transformed the domestic context for making foreign policy as well as domestic policy. The commercialization of the mass media has changed the way leaders and publics interact in the process of making foreign policy. As they compete with one another, the new media naturally try to appeal to the tastes of their potential audiences. Editors make choices about which stories to cover based on their judgments about which ones will resonate best with audiences. In China today, that means a lot of stories about Japan, Taiwan, and the United States, the topics that are the objects of Chinese popular nationalism. The publicity given these topics makes them domestic political issues because they are potential focal points for elite dis-agreement and mass collective action, and thereby constrains the way China' leaders and diplomats deal with them. Even relatively minor events involving China' relations with Japan, Taiwan, or the United States become big news, and therefore relations with these three governments must be carefully handled by the politicians in the Communist Party Politburo Standing Committee. Because of the Internet, it is impossible for Party censors to screen out news from Japan, Taiwan or the United States that might upset the public. Common knowledge of such news forces officials to react to every slight, no matter how small. Foreign policy makers feel especially constrained by nationalist public opinion when it comes to its diplomacy with Japan. Media marketization and the Internet have helped make Japan China' most emotionally charged international relationship.

Changing Media and Changing Political Organization: Delegation, Representation and News (pp71-93)
SAMUEL L. POPKIN (University of California San Diego)

This article examines the ways that new communications technologies change the organization of politics as well as the content of news. Changes in the media lead to changes in the mediators, the persons who choose and interpret the news for the public. When new mediators convey different news stories or offer different interpretations from the previous regime, they redistribute control of politics and culture.

As media get cheaper, faster and harder to control, state regulation of content becomes less effective. This provides new opportunities for citizens to monitor their leaders and alters the ways that leaders - whether they are democratic or authoritarian - demonstrate accountability.

Political leaders are always trying to control the agenda by limiting information available to the public and convincing the public that they know more and know best. New forms of media, such as the commercial television, cable and satellite television, and the internet change political competition by providing new opportunities for insurgent politicians to challenge their elders. I consider these changes within the context of past innovations, including the rise of the printing press, the telegraph, the newspaper, and radio.

How Junichiro Koizumi seized the leadership of Japan's Liberal Democratic Party (pp95-114)
IKUO KABASHIMA (Graduate School of Law and Politics, University of Tokyo) and GILL STEEL (Graduate School of Law and Politics, University of Tokyo)

In this paper, we examine some of the ways in which Koizumi Junichiro took advantage of changes in television news to win the 2001 Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) presidential election and become prime minister of Japan. Koizumi adopted a strategy of political populism to increase his exposure in the media and develop a public reputation. Changes in the LDP selection procedure, in combination with long-term social and economic change and political reform, meant that the media mattered more to his campaign than had previously been the case. We use data from the Japan Election Study II (JES II) to show that the effects of Koizumi' media-driven popularity and style of politics reversed the LDP' electoral fortunes in the Upper House Election in 2001

Soft News and Foreign Policy: How Expanding the Audience Changes the Policies (pp115-145)
MATTHEW A. BAUM (University of California, Los Angeles, Department of Political Science, 4289 Bunche Hall, Box 951472, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1472.)

Since the 1980s, the mass media have changed the way they cover major political stories, like foreign policy crises. As a consequence, what the public learns about these events has changed. More media outlets cover major events than in the past, including the entertainment-oriented soft news media. When they do cover a political story, soft news outlets focus more on "human drama" than traditional news media - especially the character and motivations of decision-makers, as well as individual stories of heroism or tragedy - and less on the political or strategic context, or substantive nuances, of policy debates. Many Americans who previously ignored most political news now attend to some information about major political events, like wars, via the soft news media. These changes have important implications for democratic politics. Most importantly, a large number of particularly persuadable potential voters are now tuning in to politics via soft news outlets. This gives politicians an incentive to develop strategies for reaching out to them. Such individuals care less about the nuances of policy and more about the personality of leaders and any sensational human drama that a policy, like a war, entails. Soft news consumers care less about geopolitics than about body bags. Politicians who want their votes are therefore likely to emphasize body bags more than geopolitics. In short, the "new" media environment changes both the style and substance of politics in democracies.

Changing Media, Changing Politics in Japan (pp147-166)
MASAKI TANIGUCHI (University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan)

This paper demonstrates that recent changes in the mass media, especially TV programs, change democratic practice. I argue that this theory is applicable not only to the US, but also to Japan after the 1990s. This paper is organized as follows: the first section confirms that the increase in TV news after the 1980s is driven by an increase in 'soft' or 'infotaining' political news. The second section describes the changes in political practice - elections, policy processes, and party organization brought about by this change in the mass media, using both quantitative and qualitative methods.

Japanese Journal of Political Science (2006), Cambridge University Press
Copyright ©2006 Cambridge University Press

This journal is available on line at:

Posted with permission from the publisher.

Copyright © Japanese Institute of Global Communications