The Partisan Divide and American Elections

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The Partisan Divide and American Elections:
Media Watchdog Group

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  • -(http://www.america.gov/st/washfile-english/2007/August/20070820155151IHecuoR0.2139246.html) -(Markus Prior, Post-broadcast Democracy: How Media Choice Increases Inequality in Political Involvement and Polarizes Elections (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 3.) -Bernd-Peter Lange and David Ward, The Media and Elections a Handbook and Comparative Study (Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, 2004), 26. - Markus Prior, Post-broadcast Democracy: How Media Choice Increases Inequality in Political Involvement and Polarizes Elections (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 3.
  • -Markus Prior, Post-broadcast Democracy: How Media Choice Increases Inequality in Political Involvement and Polarizes Elections (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 246. - http://0-hij.sagepub.com.skyline.ucdenver.edu/content/12/2/44.full.pdf+html )
  • -John Street, Mass Media, Politics and Democracy (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2009), 16. -John Street, Mass Media, Politics and Democracy (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2009), 22.
  • - http://0-hij.sagepub.com.skyline.ucdenver.edu/content/12/2/44.full.pdf+html -Bernd-Peter Lange and David Ward, The Media and Elections a Handbook and Comparative Study (Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, 2004), 40.
  • -http://www.fec.gov/DisclosureSearch/mapHSApp.do?election_yr=2010) -http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/22/us/politics/22scotus.html
  • - http://people-press.org/report/543/ 
  • But the last two decades have seen unprecedented corporate media consolidation. The U.S. media was already fairly homogeneous in the early 1980s: some fifty media conglomerates dominated all media outlets, including television, radio, newspapers, magazines, music, publishing and film. In the year 2000, just six corporations dominated the U.S. media. (democracynow.org) The response has been to create websites that monitor the media. Liberal’s watching the conservatives watchdogs include: fair.org, mediatransparency.org, media matters for america.org, moveon.org, “Fox Watch” Conservatives watching the liberals: media research center, accuracy in media, fair press, fight the bias, that liberal media, media bias page and center for media and public affairs www.newswatch.org and www.bigeye.com Related websites that list links for quick access to “educational and interesting” websites www.Politicalwatchdog.com website that informs its members via email alert about new laws that legislators are talking about and how to express their opinion to their legislator. www.Factcheck.org A nonpartisan, nonprofit that monitors the factual accuracy of what is said by political leaders www.opensecrets.org nonpartisan, independent nonprofit that monitors campaign contributions and lobbying, tracks government money ALSO democracynow.org- Democracy Now! is a national, daily, independent, award-winning news program hosted by journalists Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez. Pioneering the largest public media collaboration in the U.S., Democracy Now! is broadcast on Pacifica, NPR, community, and college radio stations; on public access, PBS, satellite television, and on the internet. Meetthefacts.com- Meet the Facts is a non-partisan grassroots effort to encourage the NBC television program Meet the Press to incorporate a formal fact-checking procedure for all statements made on air by its guests. That analysis would then be released to the public, preferably within several days of the broadcast.
  • Not everyone has access to the internet to view those websites, people may not know about them- viewer must seek them out People are too busy to seek this information out Those websites only cover elections indirectly, focus is on other political areas Focus is not local Nobody is really talking about elections Via different means to hit many different groups Inclusiveness of all people, ages, abilities, etc.
  • Many challenges that watchdog organizations face: There’s the OBVIOUS BIAS, which is quite obvious – According to PEA research center for the people and press data, 2004 elections: 70% of ppl who said they get most of news from FOX planned to vote for Bush, only 21% Kerry CNN- 67% Kerry and 26% Bush Encourages the us vs. them argument Perceived Bias Concepts are not literal, language is not neutral  Misinformation/Misinterpretation Disadvantage based on language and concepts (e.g., “patriotic” has different connotations among liberals and conservatives)
  • We have more media choices than ever before so it is easy to find a source with similar views (we choose to live in neighborhoods that typically house other like-minded individuals)- people defining themselves by the neighborhood the live in, the media that they watch Cognitive dissonance- Reducing or avoiding potential discomfort; we tend to associate with others, listen to media that supports our beliefs This reduces the opportunity for one to hear divergent views and to think critically about them So did media bias come first or did cognitive dissonance- people asking for like minded views come first? SUPPORTS PARTISAN DIVIDE
  • Even when we seemingly want to be open to ‘neutral media’ and it truly is indpendent we percieve what is the… Hostile Media Phenomenon - Audiences perceive neutral media to be biased against their own position - From Journal of Communication Robert Vallone , Lee Ross and Mark Lepper . [1] [2] In the first major study of this phenomenon, [1] pro- Palestinian students and pro- Israeli students at Stanford University were shown the same news filmstrips pertaining to the then-recent Sabra and Shatila massacre of Palestinian refugees by Christian Lebanese militia fighters in Beirut during the Lebanese Civil War . On a number of objective measures, both sides found that these identical news clips were slanted in favor of the other side. Pro-Israeli students reported seeing more anti-Israel references and fewer favorable references to Israel in the news report and pro-Palestinian students reported seeing more anti-Palestinian references, and so on. Both sides said a neutral observer would have a more negative view of their side from viewing the clips, and that the media would have excused the other side where it blamed their side. Study repeated by Princeton and Dartmouth students were shown a filmstrip of a controversial Princeton-Dartmouth football game . Asked to count the number of infractions committed by both sides, students at both universities "saw" many more infractions committed by the opposing side, in addition to making very different generalizations about the game in general Present in American politics ^ Dalton, R.J., Beck, P.A., & Huckfeldt, R. (1998). Partisan Cues and the Media: Information Flows in the 1992 Presidential Election. American Political Science Review , 92 , 1, 111-26.
  • Students and people of all ages can have access and be represented. Website will be bilingual to be accessible to more people. Emphasis on local issues.
  • Youtube etc for a younger audience Local issues of both urban and rural communities.
  • Support for our program as a predominately TV program
  • Support for our program as a predominately TV program Biggest gap between Democrats and Republicans was in 2007 and 2009 when Democrats favored Network News 27% MORE than Republicans.
  • The focus was on target voting population, now it’s on much more than demographics. Psychographics = any attributes relating to personality, values, attitudes, interests, or lifestyles.
  • The focus was on the candidate, now is on issues.
  • Our program would rate for these factors…
  • The Partisan Divide and American Elections

    1. 1. The Partisan Divide and American Elections: Media Watchdog Group Lisa Marquez Jessica Naberhaus Mandi Millar
    2. 2. OBJECTIVES <ul><li>*History of news media’s influence on American politics </li></ul><ul><li>*How does the media enable and encourage the partisan divide? </li></ul><ul><li>*Solutions and suggestions to overcoming media bias and the partisan divide </li></ul><ul><li>*Discussion </li></ul>
    3. 3. An overview of Mass Media and the electoral process <ul><li>National television networks reach 99% of all Americans. </li></ul><ul><li>U.S. citizens have experienced a proliferation in # and type of media. </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>1,600 daily newspapers </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>7,000 weekly newspapers </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>11,000 magazines and journals </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>12,500 radio stations </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>1,500 television station </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Broadcast media devotes most of time to covering competition between candidates rather than providing explanation of issues and candidate’s stances on them. </li></ul></ul></ul>
    4. 4. Election Coverage and the Partisan Divide <ul><li>A primary cause for polarization: party-related info about candidates at the expense of party-independent information. </li></ul><ul><li>Competition in political campaign over which candidate will set the agenda? How will the campaign be fought: On issues the candidate chooses, or issues their opponent brings up? </li></ul>
    5. 5. Biased coverage and the partisan divide <ul><li>News media’s coverage of elections have continued and oftentimes increased the partisan divide. What is the roll of bias? </li></ul><ul><li>4 types of bias to be aware of </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Partisan bias: A cause is explicitly and deliberately promoted. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Propaganda bias: A story is reported with the intention of making the case for a particular party, policy, or point-of-view without explicitly stating this. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Unwitting bias: Hard choices have to be made about what to cover and what to exclude in news reporting. Reflects decisions about importance of story. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ideological bias: Bias is hidden and unintended. The attention is upon ‘norms’ against which the news is created. </li></ul></ul>
    6. 6. Candidate and Issue-sponsored Paid Advertising <ul><li>-In addition to the news media, candidates are entitled to buy media advertising </li></ul><ul><li>-Content is designed by candidates and disseminates a message that candidates draft and control </li></ul><ul><li>-Use of candidate-centered paid advertising has become a distinct feature of the American political campaign process </li></ul><ul><li>-Neither federal nor state law limits the number or length of political advertisements a candidate or party may distribute. </li></ul>
    7. 7. Election Spending <ul><li>Citizens United Vs. The Federal Election Commission </li></ul><ul><ul><li>On January 21, 2010, the Supreme Court chose to eliminate limits on corporate and union spending on political campaigns. </li></ul></ul>The last two elections saw record spending by candidates in both the House and the Senate.
    8. 8. <ul><li>-Pew Research Center for People and the Press </li></ul>
    9. 9. Current Responses to Media Bias <ul><li>Many websites that monitor the media: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>www.newswatch.org and www.bigeye.com </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Related websites that list links for quick access to “educational and interesting” websites </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>www.Politicalwatchdog.com </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Informs its members via email alert about new laws that legislators are talking about and how to express their opinion to their legislator. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>www.Factcheck.org </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Monitors the factual accuracy of </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>what is said by political leaders </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>www.opensecrets.org </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Monitors campaign contributions and lobbying, tracks government money </li></ul></ul></ul>
    10. 10. They’ve got it covered… <ul><li>National Scope </li></ul><ul><li>Campaign contributions, money tracking </li></ul><ul><li>Lobbying, Politicians and Legislation </li></ul><ul><li>Internet driven </li></ul><ul><li>It needs to be covered…. </li></ul><ul><li>Local Politics </li></ul><ul><li>Elections </li></ul><ul><li>Via Different Media means </li></ul>
    11. 11. Challenges <ul><li>Obvious and Perceived Media Bias </li></ul>From: Pewresearch.org
    12. 12. Challenges <ul><li>Cognitive Dissonance </li></ul>
    13. 13. Challenges <ul><li>Hostile Media Phenomenon- Audiences perceive neutral media to be biased against their own position </li></ul>
    14. 14. <ul><li>Debates presented on TV program and encouraged interactively on website  diverse views presented. </li></ul><ul><li>Policies, institutions and local issues analyzed </li></ul><ul><li>Bilingual </li></ul>Our Proposal
    15. 15. Our Proposal <ul><li>Partnership with other nonpartisan, nonprofit watchdogs, as well as social media sites </li></ul><ul><li>Multiple sites for implementation of program, addressing issues of local importance (across state, across country?) </li></ul><ul><li>Held once a week, all year long, addressing the previous week’s media  indirectly provides incentives to media for factual reporting </li></ul>
    16. 16. -Pew Research Center for People and the Press
    17. 17. Local TV news media is favored by Republicans and Democrats -Pew Research Center for People and the Press
    18. 18. Campaigning <ul><li>THEN </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on basic demographic categories like race, class, and gender </li></ul>NOW Much more subtle and based on demographics, psychographics, and opinion
    19. 19. Campaigning NOW Political characters are fleeting, and there are permanent campaigns on lasting issue positions. THEN Desirable qualities of candidates were marketed because strong political character would bring stability in a world of fleeting political issues.
    20. 20. Detecting Bias <ul><li>Sponsorship </li></ul><ul><li>Political Position </li></ul><ul><li>Credibility </li></ul><ul><li>Presentation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>One-sided? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ignore any issues? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Present opposing view? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Negative perspective about anything? </li></ul></ul>
    21. 21. Questions? Comments? Compliments? For more information or to access our presentation, please visit: http://www.slideshare.net/PSCIProject/the-partisan-divide-and-american-elections

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