PS 101 The Media And American Politics Summer 2008

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  • 1. The Media and American Politics Dr. Christopher S. Rice
  • 2. What do we mean by “the media”?
  • 3. The Media News organizations and journalists of either the print (newspapers, magazines), broadcast (television, radio) or internet (websites, newsfeeds, blogs) media.
  • 4. Mirror Mis- identification? (cc) 2006 Flickr user eggman
  • 5. What is “news”? Timely – new, unfolding events rather than old, static ones. Dramatic – striking developments vs. commonplace ones. Compelling – developments which arouse people’s emotions
  • 6. The quality of democracy depends upon the quality of the media
  • 7. The Jon Stewart Principle High Quality Information and Debate are Essential to a Functioning Democracy
  • 8. The Marketplace of Ideas
  • 9. HOT vs. COOL media
  • 10. “Sixty percent of those who use both [TV and the Internet] simultaneously report that they regularly have the television on while they are using the Internet.” Al Gore, The Assault on Reason
  • 11. Cult of Personality?
  • 12. Skeptical about the media... (cc) 2008 Flickr user voteprime
  • 13. (cc) 2006 Flickr user idiolector ...but still accept accuracy of “mainstream media”
  • 14. Media Giants!
  • 15. Roles of the Media in a Democratic Society Common Carrier Watchdog Public Signaler Representative
  • 16. Roles of the Media in a Democratic Society Common Carrier Watchdog Public Signaler Representative
  • 17. The media as common carrier Serve as channels of communication among political and governmental institutions
  • 18. Spin Doctors
  • 19. 2
  • 20. illegitimate legitimate
  • 21. The incredible shrinking sound bite
  • 22. Sound Bite Amount of time a politician or candidate is allowed to speak without interruption
  • 23. 1960’s 40 sec.
  • 24. 2008 <10 sec.
  • 25. Roles of the Media in a Democratic Society Common Carrier Watchdog Public Signaler Representative
  • 26. The media as watchdog should dig up facts, warn public when officials are doing something wrong
  • 27. Watergate
  • 28. Abu Ghraib
  • 29. U.S. Attorney Firing Scandal
  • 30. The importance of the First Amendment... (cc) 2007 Flickr user Thorne Enterprises
  • 31. Roles of the Media in a Democratic Society Common Carrier Watchdog Public Signaler Representative
  • 32. The media as signaler alert the public to important events, keep public informed in a timely manner
  • 33. “Just the facts, ma’am!” (cc) 2006 Flickr user alex-s
  • 34. Clarify Electoral Choices (c) 2008 Yahoo! Source: http://www.techcrunch.com/wp-content/yahoodashboardb.jpg
  • 35. Roles of the Media in a Democratic Society Common Carrier Watchdog Public Signaler Representative
  • 36. The media as public representative critical political linkage serving as spokesperson/advocate for the public
  • 37. 2
  • 38. Advocacy
  • 39. Self- Interested Actor
  • 40. FAIL
  • 41. 2
  • 42. Lack of Accountability
  • 43. POV = Bias?
  • 44. Effects of the Media on Politics
  • 45. Agenda Setting & Framing Today’s Media Agenda 1. Paint McCain as a senile old fool. 2. Make sure people associate Clinton with the B-word. 3. Make certain the public sees Obama as Jesus. 4. Taxes and regulation: B-A-D. 5. Take over the world.
  • 46. Policy Preferences
  • 47. How to Jump Start the Economy: Tax Rebates OR Public Investment
  • 48. Effects on Policymaking Direct
  • 49. Effects on Policymaking Indirect
  • 50. What is Bias?
  • 51. TRUE or FALSE: Research has found no significant evidence of ideological or partisan bias in the US media.
  • 52. TRUE!
  • 53. (cc) 2005 Flickr user jovike Hard to define
  • 54. (cc) 2006 Flickr user Aussiegall Hard to measure
  • 55. ? Count the proportion of references to a political figure or policy which seem to be positive or negative?
  • 56. ? A deviation from some perfect representation of objective reality?
  • 57. ? Slanted language?
  • 58. ? Don’t all of these involve personal judgment of some sort?
  • 59. FOX News's editorial policy is set from the top down, stating that quot;The roots of FOX News Channel's day-to-day on-air bias are actual and direct. They come in the form of an executive memo distributed electronically each morning, addressing what stories will be covered and, often, suggesting how they should be covered.” Charlie Reina former FOX News producer
  • 60. ?Is bias just negative coverage?
  • 61. ?What is objectivity, anyway?
  • 62. The problem of “Fair and balanced” (cc) 2006 Flickr user Capt Kodak
  • 63. Media Bias The tendency to present information unfairly and inaccurately so as to consistently favor one set of interests over another.
  • 64. People tend to be more concerned about media bias than they are about government censorship in the United States. (cc) 2007 Flickr user satanoid
  • 65. Objective Journalism
  • 66. 2
  • 67. Descriptive Reporting Straightforward description of the facts
  • 68. Interpretive Journalism Analysis and explanation of developments, not just reporting “the facts.”
  • 69. How Experts Are Selected
  • 70. TRENDS
  • 71. How Fox News has blurred the line between commentators and reporters.
  • 72. Subtle techniques of slanting news How you choose your sources.  Controlling the prominence of a  story – above or below fold, page 1 or buried. Solicitation and selection of  quotations. Choose which facts to report.  Frame the meaning of stories  with the headline or first line of story.
  • 73. Even if we can’t be sure media is biased (or to what extent), we CAN identify certain tendencies in media coverage…
  • 74. Dominant Points of View
  • 75. 3
  • 76. Foreign Affairs Economics Politicians