International Organizations and Environmental Policy

By Robert V. Bartlett; Priya A. Kurian et al. | Go to book overview

NOTES

I thank Sylvo Lenart, Madhu Malik, and especially Robert V. Bartlett for helpful comments and suggestions on earlier versions of this chapter, and Ines Monte for invaluable research assistance.

1.
The number of shares the United States has controlled has fluctuated with time, and the present figure of 16.5 percent is down from 1980 when it controlled approximately 21.5 percent of the votes ( Sanford, 1982) and 18.97 percent in 1982 ( Hayter and Watson, 1985:69).
2.
Agenda setting is, of course, only one of several ways in which media influence public opinion and the policy-making process. Iyengar ( 1991) points out other effects of the media (although his discussion focuses solely on television): framing effects (i.e., the manner in which an issue is "framed" significantly influences decision outcomes); priming effects (the ability of news programs to affect the criteria by which individuals judge political leaders); and bandwagon effects (where political campaign news stories focus on candidates' electoral prospects rather than on their policy positions or personal characteristics).
3.
I chose to begin the study from 1972, as reliable data for all three newspapers were available only from that year. Collecting data on media without the help of published indexes (as would have been the case for the Washington Post) would have raised problems of reliability and feasibility. Admittedly, published indexes are not error free, but it is reasonable to assume that their errors are random, not systematic.
4.
The content analyses of the media stories to evaluate their prominence and of the congressional hearings to ascertain their frequency and themes were replicated independently during this research project.
5.
It is a conceptually defensible argument, however, that it takes time for Congress to respond to media coverage. The mechanics of arranging the holding of a hearing itself takes time, and this is especially true in the case of an issue such as the environment, which, although significant, does not usually carry the urgency or immediacy of, say, a political scandal or upheaval. Hence, it would be worthwhile to lag the media prominence scores by a year and see how this affects the correlation figures.
NYT-L WP-L WSJ-L MED-L
.63 .38 .49 .60
(P=.003) (P=.10) (P=.03) (P=.006)

The results of the correlation between congressional hearings and the lagged prominence scores of the media show that the correlation between the combined media score and the frequency of hearings continues to be high at .60, significant at the .006 level. This is a weaker correlation than the non-lagged correlation, indicating that if

-118-

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