Professor Schiffer studies American politics, with an emphasis on the news media, elections, and public opinion. His recent work has covered the hot topics of media bias and presidential primary elections.
He is an engaging speaker who has given non-partisan talks to a variety of groups across the state. His recent book, Evaluating Media Bias, is a timely look at a perennial controversy. He will be conducting a large-scale study of the media's role in the 2020 presidential nomination.
Areas of Expertise (5)
Presidential Nomination Contests
Public Opinion and American Politics
University of North Carolina: Ph.D., Political Science 2003
Arizona State University: M.A., Political Science 1998
Chapman University: B.A., Political Science / Journalism 1996
Media Appearances (5)
From public health to politics: has an end come for vaccine politics?
TCU 360 online
“[Things] should not map onto the political spectrum where you have different views on it depending on what side you’re on,” said Dr. Adam Schiffer, a professor of political science at TCU. “But somehow that happens and it becomes ‘politicized.'”
Adam Schiffer Discusses Media Bias
TCU News online
The political science professor talks about media bias during the Donald Trump presidential campaign. Adam Schiffer, associate professor of political science, defines media bias and how that differs from media balance, and discusses other hot topics such as “fake news” with host James Creange ’17 in this TCU Magazine podcast.
TCU Magazine Podcast: Adam Schiffer
TCU Magazine online
Adam Schiffer, associate professor of political science, defines media bias and how that differs from media balance, and discusses other hot topics such as “fake news” with host James Creange ’17.
Can Beto beat Trump in Texas?
Texas Christian University professors Jim Riddlesperger and Adam Schiffer were leery of O’Rourke’s chances. Schiffer wrote: “If Beto wins Texas in 2020, it would only be because he’s winning the presidency in a landslide.”...
Cost of textbooks on the rise
TCU political science associate professor Adam Schiffer said when he was in college 25 years ago, there were a dozen publishers putting out political science textbooks, but now at least half of those publishers have consolidated into just one. “The fewer you have, the more they are able to act as a near monopoly,” Schiffer said. “They’re not really competing with each other, so they’re able to bump the prices way up.”...
Teaching Media Bias: The Case of the Trump PresidencyJournal of Political Science Education
2021 This paper gives instructors of Introduction to American Politics a template for teaching about media bias, using the case of President Trump and his administration. I present material for a combination lecture/discussion, including (1) a framework for evaluating partisan bias in news content, (2) discussion questions that move sequentially from abstract principles to an evaluation of Trump’s coverage, and (3) findings from a new, original content analysis that concisely illustrate the most important implications of the framework.
Debates and Partisan Enthusiasm Before the 2012 Republican PrimariesPresidential Studies Quarterly
Adam J. Schiffer
2017 To what degree do early presidential primary debates aid party‐loyalist decision making? And does this effect diminish as the debate season progresses? This study utilizes a unique, daily data set and time‐series regression to chart the effect of 13 pre‐primary debates on party‐loyalist enthusiasm in the 2012 Republican nomination contest—as measured by Facebook activity—along with news coverage and Google search volume...
Information Flow, Grassroots Enthusiasm, and Candidate Standing in the 2012 Republican Nomination ContestJournal of Political Science
Adam J. Schiffer
2015 Can a presidential candidate compensate for a lack of traditional press coverage through conversation-generating activity - retailpolitics, Internet activity, etc. - that in turn echoes into the media? This study uses time-series analysis of an original data set to model the day-to-day dynamics of the relationship between mainstream news coverage, social-media enthusiasm, and horserace standing in the earliest months of the 2012 Republican presidential nomination contest. Though some candidates are able to parlay spikes of grassroots enthusiasm into increased news coverage, this process bypasses the candidates who would stand to benefit the most from it - the "underground" candidates whose news coverage lags far behind their grassroots enthusiasm.
The Limits of Presidential Agenda Setting: Predicting Newspaper Coverage of the Weekly Radio AddressThe International Journal of Press/Politics
Beverly Horvit, Adam J. Schiffer, Mark Wright
2008 Beginning with Ronald Reagan in 1982, U.S. presidents have typically given a radio address every Saturday morning designed primarily to make news in the Sunday newspapers and on the Sunday news programs. A content analysis of the New York Times, the Boston Globe, Houston Chronicle, and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from 1982 to 2005 shows that coverage of the presidents' addresses has diminished over time both in terms of the percentage of radio addresses covered and the number of paragraphs directly citing the president. Positive predictors of coverage include presidential approval ratings and a foreign-policy topic...
Assessing Partisan Bias in Political News: The Case(s) of Local Senate Election CoveragePolitical Communication
Adam J. Schiffer
2006 Many studies of partisan bias in political news employ balance as a baseline. That is, the party/candidate receiving more or better coverage in any given source is automatically deemed the beneficiary of favorable treatment by the source. A study employing the balance baseline potentially exaggerates the amount of meaningful partisan bias in the source, however, for failure to control for nonpartisan, non-ideological news judgment criteria. This study models variation in the relative amount and tone of coverage received by candidates in 95 content analyses of newspapers' Senate election coverage from 1988–1992. This enables a direct test of the relative power of partisan and structural (nonpartisan, news-judgment-driven) biases in explaining the slant of election coverage. While news-organizational factors are found to dominate the amount model, a modest amount of residual slant toward the Democratic candidates remains in the tone of coverage, controlling for structural bias.
I'm Not That Liberal: Explaining Conservative Democratic IdentificationPolitical Behavior
Adam J. Schiffer
2000 The persistence of self-identified conservative Democrats in the electorate is puzzling. Both the ongoing Southern realignment and the recent ideological polarization should have resulted in conservative Democrats changing their party identification to accord with their discrepant ideology. Instead, the number of conservative Democrats, as a percentage of the total electorate, has held steady over the last 20 years. I propose an explanation for this phenomenon that draws upon theories of mass belief systems, as well as an element of recent political reality: the popular stigmatization of the word “liberal.” I argue that Democrats who are susceptible to elite cues garner positive affect toward the conservative label and negative affect toward the liberal label. They then identify themselves accordingly, regardless of their issue positions.