When Does the Watchdog Bark? Conditions of Aggressive Questioning in Presidential News Conferences

  title={When Does the Watchdog Bark? Conditions of Aggressive Questioning in Presidential News Conferences},
  author={Steven E. Clayman and John Heritage and Marc N. Elliott and Laurie L. McDonald},
  journal={American Sociological Review},
  pages={23 - 41}
In theories of the journalism-state relationship, the watchdog model of journalism competes with other models emphasizing either subservient or oppositional relations. Since actual journalistic practice is circumstantially variable, this study isolates the social conditions associated with aggressive journalism. Data are drawn from presidential news conferences from 1953 to 2000, and the focus is on the aggressiveness of the questions asked therein. Through multivariate models, four sets of… 

Tables from this paper

A Watershed in White House Journalism: Explaining the Post-1968 Rise of Aggressive Presidential News
Presidential journalism is known to have grown substantially more aggressive through the 1970s and beyond, but a definitive explanation for this trend remains elusive. Some suggest that events
The President’s Questioners
Are members of the White House press corps unified in their treatment of the president at any given time, or does their behavior differ by demographic and professional attributes? This study
Cooperative or Adversarial? Journalists’ Enactment of the Watchdog Function in Political News Production
This study examines how power relations between journalism and political actors vary across the news production process. Applying a process approach, it addresses this issue by exploring journalists’
How to respond to journalists’ questions? A new perspective on Chinese premiers’ aggressiveness at press conferences (1993–2015)
ABSTRACT This study extends the framework describing journalists’ aggressiveness at politicians’ press conference and develops five dimensions to measure politicians’ aggressiveness in response to
Is Watchdog Journalism Satisfactory Journalism? A Cross-national Study of Public Satisfaction with Political Coverage
This study examines the relevance of the watchdog journalism model to the general public. Drawing on panel surveys in three media systems the study examines the relationship between news media use,
New Conflicts in the Briefing Room: Using Sentiment Analysis to Evaluate Administration-press Relations from Clinton through Trump
ABSTRACT Journalists have argued that the high levels of hostility between President Trump and numerous media outlets have marked a critical juncture in presidential-press relations. This perceived
Global questioners: examining journalists’ aggressiveness at Chinese premiers’ press conferences (1993–2015)*
ABSTRACT This paper explores the different levels of aggressiveness in five dimensions exhibited by journalists with diverse global backgrounds at the press conferences of four Chinese premiers. Four
THE CHANGING TENOR OF QUESTIONING OVER TIME Tracking a question form across US presidential news conferences , 1953 2000
This paper uses a single question form*the negative interrogative*as a window into the increasing aggressiveness of American journalists and hence the increasingly adversarial relationship between
Presidential Influence of the News Media: The Case of the Press Conference
Can presidents influence news coverage through their press conferences? Scant research has explored this question leaving two possible answers. On the one hand, presidential news management efforts,


Questioning Presidents: Journalistic Deference and Adversarialness in the Press Conferences of U.S. Presidents Eisenhower and Reagan
This paper develops a new system for analyzing the questions that journalists ask public figures in broadcast news interviews and press conferences. This system is then applied in a comparative study
Historical Trends in Questioning Presidents, 1953‐2000
The White House press corps has long had a significant bearing on presidential governance. Ever since opinion leadership became important for the chief executive in the early decades of the twentieth
Is Network News Coverage of the President Biased?
In recent years presidential charges of maltreatment by the press have become commonplace Various scholarly research into political communication appears to confirm the validity of these charges.
Evolution of presidential news coverage
Abstract This study is the second of two reporting on how the American presidency has been rhetorically constructed for the nation's citizens by the mass media between 1945 and 1985. These research
When News Norms Collide, Follow the Lead: New Evidence for Press Independence
The literature on media independence shows that the public statements of government officials can simultaneously stimulate news coverage and regulate the discursive parameters of that coverage. This
If the News Is So Bad, Why Are Presidential Polls So High? Presidents, the News Media, and the Mass Public in an Era of New Media
By almost any standard, 1998 was a horrible year for any president. Bill Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky became public, leading to his impeachment. The Republican-controlled Congress heartily
The White House and the News Media: The Phases of Their Relationship
The legacy of Vietnam and Watergate commonly is assumed to have altered the relationship between the president and the press drastically and permanently. "I think for the most part honeymoons with
Public Affairs Television and the Growth of Political Malaise: The Case of “The Selling of the Pentagon”
Television journalism can produce significant changes in opinions about basic American institutions and may also foster political malaise. Laboratory investigation revealed that the CBS documentary,
Presidential Elections and the Econonmy 1872 to 1996: The Times they are a 'Changin or the Song Remains the Same?
Scholars have argued that economic conditions influence presidential elections because Presidents have some influence over macroeconomic performance. Most research on the impact of the economy on
The Media, the War in Vietnam, and Political Support: A Critique of the Thesis of an Oppositional Media
  • D. Hallin
  • Political Science
    The Journal of Politics
  • 1984
The issue of the relation of the media to political authority has been approached by political scientists mainly in terms of the effects of news content on individual attitudes toward government.