Echo Chamber: Rush Limbaugh and the Conservative Media Establishment

ISBN : 9780195398601

Kathleen Hall Jamieson; Joseph N. Cappella
320 ページ
157 x 234 mm

Rupert Murdoch's multibillion-dollar purchase of the Wall Street Journal in 2007 was but one more chapter in an untold story: the rise of an integrated conservative media machine that all began with Rush Limbaugh in the 1980s. Kathleen Hall Jamieson and Joseph Cappella-two of the nation's foremost experts on politics and communications-here offer a searching analysis of the conservative media establishment, from talk radio to Fox News to the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal. Indeed, Echo Chamber is the first serious account of how the conservative media arose, what it consists of, and how it operates. Surprisingly, President Obama's election has only enhanced the influence of Limbaugh. As an unofficial leader of the Republican Party, he has issued marching orders to the rest of the conservative media bent on challenging President Obama's agenda. To show how this influential segment of the media works, the authors examine the uproar that followed when Senator Trent Lott seemed to endorse Strom Thurmond's segregationist past. Limbaugh called the remarks "utterly indefensible," but added that a "double standard" was in play. That signaled a broad counterattack by the conservative media establishment, charging the mainstream media with hypocrisy (yet using its reports when convenient), creating a set of facts-or allegations-for partisans to draw upon, and fostering an in-group identity. Jamieson and Cappella find that Limbaugh, Fox News, and the Wall Street Journal opinion pages create a self-protective enclave for conservatives, shielding them from other information sources, and promoting strongly negative associations with political opponents. Limbaugh in particular, they write, fuses the roles of party leader and opinion leader in a fashion reminiscent of the nineteenth century's partisan newspaper editors.


1. How the Conservative Media Attack the Democratic Opposition
2. How the Conservative Opinion Media Defend Conservatism
3. Conservative Opinion Media: The Players
4. The Conservative Opinion Media as Opponents of Liberalism and Custodians of the Reagan Narrative
5. Effects of an Echo Chamber
6. Speaking to the Republican Base: An Analysis of Conservative Media's Audience
7. Vetting Candidates for Office
8. Stirring Emotion to Mobilize Engagement
9. Framing and Reframing the Mainstream Media
10. Engendering and Reinforcing Distrust of Mainstream Media
11. Defining and Defending an Insular Interpretive Community
12. Balkanization of Knowledge and Interpretation
13. Distortion and Polarization
14. Conclusion: Echo Chamber: Cause for Concern or Celebration?


Kathleen Hall Jamieson is Director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center, which runs FactCheck.org. Her books include unSpun, Capturing Campaign Dynamics, and The Press Effect. Joseph N. Cappella is Gerard R. Miller Chair at the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania. A nationally recognized communications theorist, he is a past president of the International Communications Association and the co-author (with Kathleen Hall Jamieson) of the award-winning Spiral of Cynicism: The Press and the Public Good.