Google full text of our books:


Soft News Goes to War:
Public Opinion and American Foreign Policy in the New Media Age
Matthew A. Baum

Paperback | 2005 | $38.95 | £32.95 | ISBN: 9780691123776
344 pp. | 6 x 9 1/4 | 38 line illus. 31 tables.
Add to Shopping Cart

eBook | ISBN: 9781400841288 |
Our eBook editions are available from these online vendors

Reviews | Table of Contents
Chapter 1 [HTML] or [PDF] pdf-icon

Google full text of this book:

The American public has consistently declared itself less concerned with foreign affairs in the post-Cold War era, even after 9/11, than at any time since World War II. How can it be, then, that public attentiveness to U.S. foreign policy crises has increased? This book represents the first systematic attempt to explain this apparent paradox. Matthew Baum argues that the answer lies in changes to television's presentation of political information. In so doing he develops a compelling "byproduct" theory of information consumption. The information revolution has fundamentally changed the way the mass media, especially television, covers foreign policy. Traditional news has been repackaged into numerous entertainment-oriented news programs and talk shows. By transforming political issues involving scandal or violence (especially attacks against America) into entertainment, the "soft news" media have actually captured more viewers who will now follow news about foreign crises, due to its entertainment value, even if they remain uninterested in foreign policy.

Baum rigorously tests his theory through content analyses of traditional and soft news media coverage of various post-WWII U.S. foreign crises and statistical analyses of public opinion surveys. The results hold key implications for the future of American politics and foreign policy. For instance, watching soft news reinforces isolationism among many inattentive Americans. Scholars, political analysts, and even politicians have tended to ignore the soft news media and politically disengaged citizens. But, as this well-written book cogently demonstrates, soft news viewers represent a largely untapped reservoir of unusually persuadable voters.


"Baum marshals an impressive body of research data to support his thesis, and he arranges it in a highly readable manner."--Choice

"Soft News Goes to War is an important work. Prior to its publication, many researchers had speculated about the political consequences of soft news, but none had provided the rigorously derived conclusions that Baum does. . . . [Readers] will find intriguing and provocative insights to reward them."--Paul R. Brewer, Perspectives on Political Science

"[O]ne of the better political communication books of recent years. . . . [T]his book will open the eyes of scholars and practitioners alike to the new world of public communication. Soft News Goes to War is a must read for those interested in the media, public opinion, and foreign policy."--Thomas E. Patterson, Political Science Quarterly

"Presenting an important and carefully researched analysis, this timely book documents why political communication research can no longer ignore entertainment programming as an important source of political information."--Scott L. Althaus, Harvard International Journal of Press/Politics

"Baum's study of 'soft news' is comprehensive. . . . It is rare to see a combination of use-, content-, and effects-based research in a single work, and the author should be applauded for such efforts."--R. Lance Holbert, Public Opinion Quarterly

"Baum presents a detailed theoretical model that serves as a foundation for his study of soft news. It is important that future research in this area use Baum's model as a foundation from which to bring greater sophistication (relative to greater complexity) in outlining the processes that generate soft news effects."--R. Lance Holbert, Public Opinion Quarterly

More reviews

Table of Contents

Other Princeton books authored or coauthored by Matthew A. Baum:

Subject Area:

Shopping Cart options:

  • For ebooks:

Our eBook editions are available
from these online vendors:

  • Amazon Kindle Store
  • Apple iBooks
  • Barnes & Noble Nook Store
  • Google Play eBook Store
  • Kobo eBook Store
  • Many of our ebooks are available through
    library electronic resources including these platforms:

  • Books at JSTOR
  • Ebrary
  • Ebook Library
  • EBSCO Ebooks
  • MyiLibrary
  • Dawsonera (UK)

    • For hardcover/paperback orders in United States, Canada, Latin America, Asia, and Australia

     Paperback : $38.95 ISBN: 9780691123776

    Add to shopping cart
    View contents of your shopping cart

    • For hardcover/paperback orders in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, India, and Pakistan

     Paperback  £32.95 ISBN: 9780691123776

    Add to shopping cart
    View contents of your shopping cart

    Prices subject to change without notice

    File created: 7/11/2017

    Questions and comments to:
    Princeton University Press

    New Book E-mails
    New In Print
    PUP Blog
    Princeton APPS
    Sample Chapters
    Princeton Legacy Library
    Exam/Desk Copy
    Recent Awards
    Princeton Shorts
    Freshman Reading
    PUP Europe
    About Us
    Contact Us
    PUP Home

    Bookmark and Share 
    Send me emails
    about new books in:
    Political Science And International Relations
    More Choices