Mass media & public opinion

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  • 1. Mass Media & Public Opinion
  • 2. Influencing Public Opinion
    Interest Groups
    Public-Interest Groups
    Lobbyists
    Public opinion: ideas and attitudes a significant amount of Americans have about political issues
  • 3. Political Socialization
    Political Socialization: Process of shaping one’s ideas and attitudes about government
    Factors that Affect Political Views:
    Family
    Schools
    Peers
    Media
  • 4. Measuring Public Opinion
    Politicians monitor public opinion:
    Email
    Letters
    Talking to Constituents
    Town hall meetings
    Election results
    Media
    Polls
  • 5. Scientific Polling
    Polls: ask voters for their opinions
    Random sample: randomly chosen people up to a specified amount (usually 1500+)
    Telephone interviews
    Leading Questions vs. Scientific Questions
    Margin of error: measures poll’s accuracy
    Margin of error: 2%
  • 6. Mass Media
    Most Americans get their news about government and political issues from:
  • Media Influence on the Public Agenda
    Public Agenda: societal problems that political leaders and the general public agree need government attention
    Media set agenda by choosing what to show and what not to show
    Bias: liberal, conservative, moderate
  • 11. Images affect attitudes
    VS.
    Case Study: (Vietnam War)
  • 12. Media Influence on Elections
    Presidents use the media to promote their policies and programs
    Media plays a role in who is elected
    How television shapes elections:
    Little-known candidates can make an impact
    TV ads reach more people than print
    TV networks put more resources into covering front-runners in primaries
  • 13. Images affect attitudes
    Vice President Nixon vs. newcomer John Kennedy
    1st time presidential debate was televised
    TV viewers thought Kennedy won, but radio listeners thought Nixon won.
    Case Study: (1960 Election)
  • 14. Media, Congress, & the Courts
    Press Secretary
    C-SPAN
    Broadcast of state & local trials
    Daily sessions for reporters at Federal trials
  • 15. Media Bias
    Types of Bias:
    Advertising bias, when stories are selected or slanted to please advertisers.
    Corporate bias, when stories are selected or slanted to please corporate owners of media.
    Mainstream bias, a tendency to report what everyone else is reporting, and to avoid stories that will offend anyone.
    Sensationalism, bias in favor of the exceptional over the ordinary, giving the impression that rare events, such as airplane crashes, are more common than common events, such as automobile crashes.
  • 16. The Simpsons lampoons Fox News bias
  • 17. Watchdog Groups
    Liberal
    Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR)
    Media Matters for America
    Conservative
    Accuracy In Media
    Media Research Center