Publications

2006
Gadi Wolfsfeld and Tamir Sheafer. 2006. “Competing actors and the construction of political news: The contest over waves in Israel.” Political Communication, Pp. 333. Publisher's Version Abstract
An actor-oriented approach is provided to the construction of political news by looking at the competition over news exposure during political waves in Israel. Among the most important individual traits are charismatic communication skills, political standing and the extent to which the individual can be thematically linked to the wave topic.
William L. Benoit and Tamir Sheafer. 2006. “Functional Theory and Political Discourse: Televised Debates in Israel and the United States.” Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 83, Pp. 281 - 297. Publisher's Version Abstract
This study applied functional theory, developed for political campaigns in the United States, to six televised debates in Israel and compared debates in both countries. In both countries, acclaims were the most common function, followed by attacks and then defenses. Policy was addressed more often than character. Incumbent candidates in both countries acclaimed significantly more and attacked less than the challengers. Incumbents used past deeds significantly more often to acclaim—and less to attack—than the challengers. The similarities discovered suggest that candidates for elective political office may employ common discursive practices that transcend national borders. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
Much of the activity of politicians, we maintain in this paper, is driven by their belief in the power of media, which motivates their desire to be featured in news coverage. Our argument rests upon recent advances in communication theory, stressing "the influence on presumed media influence” (Gunther & Storey, 2003) and contributes to our understanding of the mediatization of politics. Combined data from a survey of Israeli members of Knesset (MKs; n = 56), Knesset records of MKs political activity, and data on the frequency of MKs’ news appearances, were used to test this argument. Structural Equation Modeling revealed that politicians' belief in the power of media increases their motivation to appear in media coverage, which in turn is related both to greater media prominence and to more parliamentary activity. These results are discussed in light of their implications for both our understanding of political actors and for the role of journalists. ..PAT.-Conference Proceeding [ABST
Tamir Sheafer. 2006. “The Media and Economic Voting in Israel.” Conference Papers – American Political Science Association, Pp. 1 -25 . Publisher's Version Abstract
The premise of the economic voting hypothesis is that citizens vote for the government if the national economy is doing well; otherwise, they vote against it. It is argued that citizens learn about the state of the national economy mainly from the media. Yet, only few studies of economic voting include empirical analyses of the media's role in it. Even a smaller number of studies analyze the electoral impact of the real economy and of the way the media present it. The models in this study include both, objective economic indicators and media representation of the economy, based on a media content analysis of Israeli elections. The results support the importance of combining objective economic indicators and media variables. ..PAT.-Unpublished Manuscript [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
Tamir Sheafer and Shaul Tzionit. 2006. “Media-political skills, Candidate selection methods and electoral success.” Journal of Legislative Studies, 12, Pp. 179 - 197. Publisher's Version Abstract
The analyses concentrate on the influences of the media and political skills of political actors on their electoral success. Many believe that demonstrating media skills is crucial for electoral success because it helps political actors to persuade media consumers to vote for them; but in some candidate selection methods, such as when a single leader selects the candidates, the media might not be an important factor. Therefore, the analyses take into account the interaction of media-political skills of political actors with candidate selection methods. This raises the question whether the democratisation of selection methods, now occurring in many countries, is making media-political skills more important. Multiple regression analyses show that media-political skills have a strong impact on the electoral success of 81 Israeli Members of the Knesset. They reveal a clear interaction with selection methods, and show that media-political skills have a greater impact in the more democratic
Tamir Sheafer and Gadi Wolfsfeld. 2006. “The PMP principle and the Contest over Political Waves: Media Access for Oppositional Voices in the U.S. and Israel.” Conference Papers – American Political Science Association, Pp. 1. Publisher's Version Abstract
One of the primary questions in the field of political communication is the extent to which the news media in Western countries provide sufficient time and space for oppositional forces to be heard. The amount of access granted to oppositional forces varies among countries and it is useful to consider the variables that can explain such difference. The Politics-Media-Politics (PMP) principle claims that political variations lead to variations in media performance that then lead to changes in the political process. It is argued that one of the most important political variables influencing oppositional access is the nature of the nature of a country's party system. The party systems in Israel and the United States represent polar opposite systems in that Israel is a polarized multi-party system and the U.S. is a two party system. Data was collected based on news stories about major political waves that took place in the two countries during three different years. While opposition