The Media, the President, and Public Opinion: A Longitudinal Analysis of the Drug Issue, 1984-1991

Synopsis

Using a broadened conceptualization of agenda setting, this volume's objective is to examine the drug issue from mid-1984 to mid-1991 to determine how drug-related issues and events -- both real and fabricated -- and the primary agendas drove the issue over time. Based on this objective, four questions are posed:

• How did the media structure interpretations of drug issues and events?

• How did the president structure public relations interpretations and presentations of issue and event information over time?

• What were the interactions of the drug-issue agendas, the president's public relations agendas, the media, and the public, while controlling the policy agenda and a real-world measure of the severity of the drug problem?

• How did the relationships of these agendas differ during the Reagan and Bush presidencies?

These questions were addressed with detailed content analyses of the media agenda over time, the presidential public relations agenda over time, and a multivariate ARIMA analysis of the time series agendas. No previous studies to date have addressed and modeled these agendas simultaneously with ARIMA modeling methods.