Communications

The influence and importance of language

Labels for what happened Jan. 6 at the U.S. Capitol were very different from those used to describe the Black Lives Matter movement or the 2020 election results. How much weight do individual words actually have? It depends on the context.

Michele W. Berger

Google News prioritizes national media over local

A new study from the Annenberg School for Communication found that Google News prioritizes national media outlets over local media outlets in search results, even when users are searching for local topics.

From Annenberg School for Communication



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In the News


The Washington Post

On conservative talk radio, efforts to tone down inflammatory rhetoric appear limited

Brian Rosenwald of the School of Arts & Sciences weighed in on how conservative talk radio hosts will address the incoming Biden administration. “A Democratic administration equals a new boogeymen to focus on,” said Rosenwald. “You might have offhand references or conversation about Biden being an illegitimate president, but the focus won’t be on the ‘stolen election’ unless and until there is fresh news on the topic.”

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The Washington Post

The Trump presidency was marked by battles over truth itself. Those aren’t over

Kathleen Hall Jamieson of the Annenberg Public Policy Center said people can be primed to believe false information through repetition. “What Trump did was take tactics of deception and played to confirmation biases that were already circulating in our culture and embodied them in somebody who is president of the United States. He didn’t change what was available, but he changed its accessibility,” she said. “That crazed content has always been there. But it becomes dangerous when it is legitimized and when it has the power of the state behind it.”

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Huffington Post

Trump supporters’ main problem was never the economy

Research by Diana Mutz of the Annenberg School for Communication and School of Arts & Sciences found that people who voted for Trump in 2016 did so because of racial anxieties, not economic distress. “It’s the same old same old. White males have been the group with the most power in our country for a long, long time,” she said. “Change is hard.”

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The New York Times

The talk radio network that airs Dan Bongino and Mark Levin warned staff to stop ‘dog-whistle talk’

Brian Rosenwald of the School of Arts & Sciences spoke about Cumulus Media, a talk radio company that has instructed employees not to spread misinformation about the presidential election. “Cumulus has a big, broad set of interests—they have advertisers, sports contracts, nonconservative podcasts, dealings with the F.C.C. over station licensing,” Rosenwald said. “They understand that if you get involved in something that risks instigating violence, there’s a serious danger to the bottom line.”

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CBS News

How conspiracy theories fueled assault on U.S. Capitol

Dan Romer of the Annenberg School for Communications weighed in on how conspiracy theories led to the breach of the U.S. Capitol building. “In a way what happened yesterday is just a further demonstration of how [President Trump’s] supporters have accepted some of his assertions about conspiracies and are willing to act on them,” Romer said.

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WHYY (Philadelphia)

Masking and vaxxing for the public good

Damon Centola of the Annenberg School for Communication joined a conversation about how to promote healthy behaviors amid the pandemic.

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