Presidential Campaigns and Elections
New Directions in the American Presidency
Purpose of the study: This study seeks to explore the influence of culture on audiences' responses to online negative campaigns during Indonesia's 2014 and 2019 presidential elections. It shows that voter behavior is not determined entirely by media messages, as voters' decisions are strongly informed by their cultural and family backgrounds. Methodology: Negative campaign messages conveyed through online mass-media coverage were used as the main object of this study. These messages were
... essages were analyzed categorically, with a focus on their themes, values, and ideologies. Data inference was made contextually, with a specific focus on cultural context. Main Findings: Mass media audiences' reception of negative campaigns is not homogenous, but influenced by political ideologies, social statuses, cultures, past experiences, and family characteristics. As such, negative campaigns do not influence the perceptions of mass media audiences, but rather reinforces audiences' existing political preferences. This is because Indonesian audiences are not individual (as common among new media audiences), but rather collective. They are divided into specific groups based on their political ideologies and the socio-cultural values that they learn from their families. Applications of this study: The findings can be applied to evaluate the media's effectiveness in constructing public knowledge and shaping public decisions. Novelty/Originality of this study: Although it has long been argued that the media can shape public opinions and decisions, this study shows that it plays a significant role in reinforcing existing political preferences. Audiences use the media to justify values that, owing to their specific family backgrounds and social environments, they have already embraced.