Article by Jeff Niederdeppe, Erika Franklin Fowler, Kenneth Goldstein, and James Pribble in the Journal of Communication (Issue 60, 2010, 230-253).
Many U.S. adults hold fatalistic beliefs about cancer prevention despite evidence that a large proportion of cancer deaths are preventable. We report findings from two studies that assess the plausibility of the claim that local television (TV) news cultivates fatalistic beliefs about cancer prevention. Study 1 features a content analysis of an October 2002 national sample of local TV and newspaper coverage about cancer. Study 2 describes an analysis of the 2005 Annenberg National Health Communication Survey (ANHCS). Overall, findings are consistent with the claim that local TV news coverage may promote fatalistic beliefs about cancer prevention. We conclude with a discussion of study implications for cultivation theory and the knowledge gap hypothesis and suggest foci for future research.