Publications

2008
Shaul R. Shenhav and Tamir Sheafer. 2008. “FROM INTER-PARTY DEBATE TO INTER-PERSONAL POLEMIC.” Party Politics, 14, Pp. 706 -725. Publisher's Version Abstract
In this article, we analyse the media coverage of party disputes during the first 16 Israeli election campaigns, i.e. in the period 1949 to 2003. Based on a content analysis of newspaper coverage of the two main parties (Labor and Likud) and a qualitative discourse analysis, we maintain that the media coverage of party disputes has undergone major change. From 1949 to 1959 the vast majority of reported disputes reflected external, inter-party debates. From 1961 the level of external debates decreased, while the level of internal, intra-party debates sharply increased. These findings reflect a significant change in the role of 'the party' as a category in the Israeli media's political discourse. The party ceased to be a unitary actor in the political arena and became an arena for political disputes. The dynamic change in party coverage has gone through three main phases: an ideological and collective phase of an external-partisan era during the first decade; an interim phase led by a c
Much of what politicians do, 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, Albert C., and J. Douglas Storey. 2003. “The Influence of Presumed Influence.” [...]
Jonathan Cohen, Yariv Tsfati, and Tamir Sheafer. 2008. “The influence of presumed media influence in politics: do politicians' perceptions of media power matter?” Public Opinion Quarterly, Pp. 331. Publisher's Version
Tamir Sheafer. 2008. “The media and economic voting in Israel.” Journal of Public Opinion Research, Pp. 33. Publisher's Version
The premise of the [...]
Michal Shamir, Jacob Shamir, and Tamir Sheafer. 2008. “The Political Communication of Mandate Elections.” Political Communication, 25, Pp. 47 - 66. Publisher's Version Abstract
A study was conducted to explore the construction of meaning of elections and, in particular, electoral mandates—policy directives sent from electorates to their elected leaders. Data were obtained from analysis of the five national elections in Israel between 1992 and 2003, a period characterized by numerous turnarounds in government and policy, landslide election results, and significant public opinion shifts. Findings revealed that in no election were all the necessary conditions for mandate election interpretations and actual postelection interpretations fulfilled, and no poll was defined as a mandate election. Findings suggested that mandate elections are rare and difficult to pinpoint. Findings are discussed in detail.
Tamir Sheafer. 2008. Wolfsfeld, Gadi (1951–).. Sage Publications, Inc. Publisher's Version Abstract
Wolfsfeld, Gadi (1951–) Gadi Wolfsfeld is best known for his research on the role of the media in political conflicts and peace processes. As an Israeli political science and communication [...]
2007
The main contribution of this study to the understanding of agenda-setting and priming effects is its focus on the role of evaluative tone in all stages of the agenda setting/priming process. First, the public's evaluation of issue importance, which is the dependent variable in most agenda-setting studies, is influenced by the issue saliency in the news and by the evaluative tone of media coverage (positive, negative, or neutral). This evaluative tone or affective attribute attached to the issue is part of the second-level agenda setting. Second, these affective attributes that people attach to issues further play an important role in the process of priming, on which they have both indirect and direct impacts. Priming, therefore, carries with it an affective component: It is a combination of message strength and direction. Third, the political judgments of individuals are also directly influenced by media-affective attributes. All of the arguments are supported by the empirical analys
Gideon Rahat and Tamir Sheafer. 2007. “The Personalization(s) of Politics: Israel, 1949-2003.” Political Communication, 24, Pp. 65 -80. Publisher's Version Abstract
A study was conducted to examine the occurrence of personalization(s) in the Israeli political system from independence in 1948 to the 2003 elections. Institutional personalization was analyzed in terms of changes in candidate selection methods; personalization in the unpaid media was assessed through analysis of the media coverage of 16 election campaigns for the Israeli parliament, the Knesset; and personalization in the behavior of politicians was measured as the percentage of the laws passed in each Knesset that originated in private member bills out of the total number of bills passed in a specific term. Findings indicated that institutional personalization generates personalization in the media, which in turn leads to personalization in the behavior of politicians.
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
2005
Tamir Sheafer. 2005. “Detecting Campaign Effects in Imbalanced Campaigns.” International Journal of Press/Politics, 10, Pp. 85. Publisher's Version Abstract
For many years, political communication scholars believed that political campaigns have only minimal effects on the public and subsequently on election results. The main justification for this minimal effects hypothesis was the fact that scholars found it impossible to measure and identify substantial persuasion effects that are the outcome of a campaign. But for more than a decade now, scholars who study political campaigns hypothesize that political campaigns have a strong persuasive effect on the voters. They argue that such persuasive effects could hardly be measured because most major political campaigns are relatively balanced, and therefore have a canceling-out effect. They hypothesize that it would be possible to measure the effects of persuasion in an extremely asymmetric campaign, but they hardly find any such major campaigns in modern times. The campaign over Sharon’s disengagement plan in Israel was extremely imbalanced and is therefore an interesting and important example
Tamir Sheafer. 2005. “Detecting Campaign Effects in Imbalanced Campaigns: The Likud's Intra-Party Referendum over Sharon's Disengagement Plan.” In Conference Papers – International Communication Association, Pp. 1 -23 . Publisher's Version Abstract
The article focuses on the detection of minimal effects in imbalanced political campaigns. The minimal effects hypothesis is slowly loosing its paradigmatic position in the field of political communication. Among the reasons for this paradigmatic change are the recognition in importance of the indirect cognitive effects of the campaign. These include findings on the educational role of campaigns, campaign effects on voter turnout and the short-term effects of campaign events.