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The Effect of Media on Politics


Published on

Cumulative project for AP United States Government and Politics.

Published in: News & Politics

The Effect of Media on Politics

  1. 1. (and its influence on politics) Prepared by Matthew Gutierrez
  2. 2. Background: What is Media? ● High POWER: Decide what issues and events to report & how to present ● More important: What NOT to present ○ Controls info we get, how we get it, and thus what we think about ● STORYTELLING: “Stories” -- Not just reflections ● FRAMING: Objective media doesn’t exist (spin applied) ● BUSINESS: The goal of media is to make money Specifically, what is political media? Media is simply this: communication of news 3 I’s to Media: 1) Inform 2) Interpret 3) Influence HEAR THIS -- “”The press (media) has become the greatest power within Western countries, more powerful than the legislative, the executive and the judiciary.” ● Media about government related people, events, and policies. ● Has existed since birth of nation but relatively new. ● Intermediary
  3. 3. Main Idea - Media has been influencing American politics increasingly over time. We will explore… ● Media playing the agenda-setting role. ○ When public concern about issues tends to follow media coverage of those issues ● Citizens don’t see government firsthand ○ Rather they form opinions based on what they see & how they interpret the news ● Media’s influence on: ○ Specific policies ○ Entire administrations ○ Candidates ○ Our government’s evolution INTRODUCING THE MEDIA-O- METER, 360-year overview Warm - TV - 1950 Present Day - 2015 Boiling HOT - 2060 Freezing COLD - 1700 *Not scaled b/c technological impacts
  4. 4. Warmup CNN example: Bottom of the screen read, “Cop pulls out gun at pool party”
  5. 5. The Beginning - Colonial Times ● The 1st newspapers: Reprints of British newspapers (mostly New England due to higher literacy rates) ○ New York ○ Boston ○ Philadelphia ○ Baltimore ● Can’t criticize parliament ○ Consisted of ads, local matters, political/economic news ● Ratification of 1st Amendment 1791 Unlike most other nations, America’s government has never controlled the media. Why? You guessed it — for the fear of a too strong centralized government. TAKEAWAY: The colonial period, specifically the 1st Amendment, laid the foundation for media’s growth.
  6. 6. Turn of the Century - 1800 ● 2 inventions ○ Steam-powered press invented ■ Makes printing’s efficient increase drastically ○ Telegraph ● At this time, newspapers were created almost solely to account for a specific political party (brand new nation) ● Many political ads, but nothing like today ○ Still basic & generic TAKEAWAY: First of a series of technological advances leading to increased influence of media in politics.
  7. 7. Age of the Newspaper (+Advertising) TAKEAWAY: Newspapers become big business thanks to better educated individuals and newer ways to reach more readers. This, in turn, gives for the rise of advertising, which allows newspapers to be less dependent on accurate news & more opinionated. ● 3 huge milestones ○ Postal service emerges ○ Public education expands ○ Railroads spread ■ Revolutionized transportation ● Advertising funds papers, which means papers become less dependent on accurate news ● New York Sun strategy: cheap paper so that all can buy. Then get advertising who then reach out to larger audiences. (Papers get commercial successes) ● Age of the Newspaper lasts throughout the 1800s and into the 1900s
  8. 8. The Political Rise (circa 1850) ● 1846: Baltimore & DC become first cities to assign special correspondents to report on Congress, specifically ● 1850: Politics heat up ○ 50 American newspapers hire DC correspondents TAKEAWAY: Politics begin to heat up in America as issues like slavery, states’ rights and western territories are debated. This leads to political correspondents who report on events in Washington, DC.
  9. 9. War Helps Media ● World War II got the economy out of the Great Depression...the Civil War wasn’t that heroic, (although the outcome did save our nation -- that’s pretty heroic) but it catapult media ○ Newspapers benefit from war ● Post war papers boom in profits ● 1896...New York Times and other NATIONAL newspapers take off and set a new standard for professionalism, commercialism, and integrity in media TAKEAWAY: During time of battle, nation demands news on the government’s actions; newspapers fulfill that demand and boom into new century.
  10. 10. A Sense of Journalism ● Increasingly, politicians have to win the favor of journalists who begin to seek to expose corruption in leaders ○ Teddy Roosevelt, below, had an unprecedented use of media while in office, setting the tone for presidents to come ■ Hired a White House staff to handle press ■ Toured the nation promoting his ● Cities booming because of industrialization ● New York Times v Sullivan made it extremely difficult to sue against papers (for libel). ○ What this means: Essentially, papers can ruin the reputations of people and there’s nothing that can be done about that TAKEAWAY: Journalists swarm into politics with new coverage tactics (interviews + opinions) and really start to determine what messages voters receive.
  11. 11. A Sense of Journalism Part II - The Camera & Journalistic Photography ● Development of camera leads to photos in newspapers ○ Story has a photo? Then it’s a very important photo (space) ● Newspapers & graphics: USA Today introduces graphics & then color graphics, transforms newspapers from solely narrative to visual ○ Today, 50% of front pages consist of photography ● Photos of Congress ○ Congressmen speak more for more photos...affects policies ● Tabloid journalism depicts politics through headlines and photos almost entirely TAKEAWAY: Photography strengthens media’s influence on politics.
  12. 12. Golden Age of Radio ● Radio created for entertainment purposes, then expands into politics ○ Presidents Coolidge, Hoover & Roosevelt use radio to support policies ● This was the first of electronic journalism ○ The most influential type of journalism on media ● 1920s...Roosevelt’s Fireside Chats used to calm nation & inform of policy ○ Changes the role of the president ■ Must address to the people ● “More hands on” TAKEAWAY: Advent of the radio becomes the first advancement of technological journalism. President’s role changes.
  13. 13. TV Part I(It’s starting to heat up) ● Became expected the president would broadcast to the nation first on radio, then on TV. ○ Big 3 radio (CBS/ABC/NBC) hit the TV ● Eisenhower becomes first president to regularly address the nation via the TV ● TV dominates politics in 60s & 70s...spending on TV becomes largest item in campaign budgets ○ ● TV is popular, cheap and 24/7 ○ Narrowcasting ■ Depth added ● Voters place higher value on personality and appearance 1950s tv emphasises an issue. ● Nixon - JFK 1960 debates televised, impacts election and blazes a new trail for elections ○ ⅞ homes have TVs and watch ■ JFK wins...b/c of good looks? ● 1984 -- Reagan saw TV media on the rise & used it to reach people -- gets name “The Great Communicator” ● Polls show more Americans report that they rely on TV rather than newspapers as primary source TAKEAWAY: TV changes the way of American politics, making a more visual political scene.
  14. 14. TV Part II ● C-SPAN covers House floor sessions originally; since its implementation members of congress have offered more speeches in congress ○ It’s changed the way politicians operate ● TV on Congress not a positive impact TV displays looks. Notice the last 12 presidents or so are better looking than the first 30 presidents. In fact, good-looking candidates are almost twice as likely to win their district elections, according to a New York Times study, “Why Candidates Win” TAKEAWAY: TV changes the way of American politics, making a more visual political scene.
  15. 15. 1960s & 1970s - Turbulence ● Vietnam War ○ Coverage challenged the government ■ Credibility gap ● What the government was saying was not what the media portrayed ● Nixon -- Watergate/Pentagon papers ○ Bring press a new prominence ○ TV expanding ■ Press love a good story & this is just what they got ● More correspondents emerge during this time TAKEAWAY: During these two decades, newspapers, radio and TV grew enormously because of a set of national stories that people in which people were interested (political news demanded). Role of media AMPLIFIED.
  16. 16. Talk Radio & Opinion ● 1990s: Talk radio skyrockets; mostly conservative hosts ● RUsh Limbaugh became popular among conservatives for his assaults of the Clinton Administration, leading to a wave of hosts, mostly targeting affluent white male audience ● Reagan Administration abolished the Fairness Doctrine, which required stations to air opposing sides of controversial issues TAKEAWAY: Talk radio acts as a conservative platform & another media outlet Oswald, Kristine A. “Mass Media and the Transformation of American Politics.” Marquette University School of Law, n.d. Web. 22 May 2015.
  17. 17. Internet Brings Instant ● Internet allows media to provide instant coverage ○ In turn, causes instant political action (behavior influenced by how internet media portrays politics) ● Originally favored (like all new technological advances) the older, white, wealth conservative male. ○ Now internet reaches all, making for a more even playing field ● Politics tabs on all major newspapers ○ The biggest news is often the political news ● What politicians do is based on their belief in how the media will portray them ○ Amplified because of internet’s prominence TAKEAWAY: Internet means instant -- politics instantly influenced by media Oswald, Kristine A. “Mass Media and the Transformation of American Politics.” Marquette University School of Law, n.d. Web. 22 May 2015.
  18. 18. A Close Look: George W. Bush Administration ● Pseudo News Reports: The Administration distributed news segments with an actor posing as a journalist to reflect politics in a favorable light ● Pseudo Opinion: 3 journalists admitted to being paid by the White House to write articles in favor of the president’s programs ● Bush Administration is regarded (depends on who you ask) as a good one, but not successful in controlling the agenda ● Bush, a Republican, criticized the media for its liberal bias and “unfavorable focus on the Republican party” TAKEAWAY: During the Bush Administration, politicians’ “fakeness” exposed (to satisfy the media) What this means: Politicians work not so much on what they want, but rather to “satisfy” the media
  19. 19. Today - Social Media Politics TAKEAWAYS: Campaigns run on social media today & local governments use social media accounts. Social media is a powerful tool for politics, as it is certainly media but there is no intermediary journalist creating a story...politicians can reach citizens DIRECTLY. Also: cheap, easy, timely.
  20. 20. Future Outlook for Media & Politics We are constantly bombarded with information & this trend will continue, affecting politics for the years to come. Politicians will have more ways to reach citizens (cheaper too). The role of media in politics will continue to increase at an exponential rate with new advancements in technology. On the decline: 1. Radio 2. TV 3. Newspapers On the rise: 1. Digital 2. 3D TAKEAWAY: Say bye to newspapers, TV and radio (as we know it) by 2060 and say hi to little bits of instant news. Snapchat news (above) is just a tasting of what’s to come. Thus, politics will be more so influenced by media.
  21. 21. Conclusion 1. It’s impossible to avoid media, but by understanding it you can have a balanced view 2. Positive coverage can increase chances for a policy’s acceptance, while negative coverage forces the policy makers to reshape their opinions 3. Media is the 4th branch of government 4. Scandalous/high-interest topics often emphasized over duller but more important topics 5. Changed role of president 6. Politicians cannot ignore agenda-setting by the media a. Leaders recognize media affects opinion so they approach issues differently Media creates politics in American society. Since the Colonial Times and the founding of the country, through the 1800 and 1900s into today and in the future, media has, is, and will influence politics and society in the aforementioned ways. The bottom line: Media creates politics. (Cycle: Political action, media coverage, amended political action)