The bureaucratic theory of synthetic advertising

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Virginia Tech

This paper is concerned with the analysis of the print media (specifically newspapers) impact on public policy making. The study examines the communications function the newspaper performs for societal groups that influence the allocation of resources via the political mechanism, It compares bureaus, interest groups, industry and plain citizens in their use of the press and analyzes differences among them, It also generates hypotheses which suggest how individual groups structure their relationships with newspapers. We expect to find that some groups have greater success at getting their policy goals published in the print media, This is because each group will face different opportunity costs and constraints from that process.

The narrow hypothesis I wish to focus upon is that bureaus will have less relative costs than other groups have and that they are constrained from employing other methods of influencing policy which are available to other groups, This makes the net benefits of publicity through media higher for bureaus than for other groups. Therefore, we expect to find bureaus disproportionately represented in newspaper articles and publication views.

The hypothesis was tested using data obtained from the Los Angeles Times which dealt with air and water pollution. The results are generally favorable and suggest that the approach is fruitful.