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American Government - Chapter 10 - Media

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American Government - Chapter 10 - Media

  1. 1. Chapter 10
  2. 2. EVOLVING CIVIC LIFE AND MEDIA CHANGES <ul><li>Colonial newspapers played an important role in promoting discussion of political issues and preparing colonists for the idea of independence. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What was the relationship between government and media during these times? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Would we have had a revolution without government control of the media? </li></ul><ul><li>In the era of the partisan press, parties paid newspapers to promote their points of view. </li></ul><ul><li>New printing technology (penny press) made newspapers much cheaper in the 1830s, freeing the press from financial dependence on parties. </li></ul>
  3. 3. EVOLVING CIVIC LIFE AND MEDIA CHANGES <ul><li>Sensationalistic reporting, called “yellow journalism,” gained enormous popularity in the late 1800s. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What is the equivalent to yellow journalism today? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>In the early1900s, aggressive investigative journalism, called “muckraking,” helped to expose corruption and social injustice and stimulate reform </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What was the drawback of this style of journalism? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Newspapers abandoned yellow journalism in early 20 th century. Why? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Began emphasizing objective journalism. How does this differ from yellow journalism? </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. EVOLVING CIVIC LIFE AND MEDIA CHANGES <ul><li>What is mass media? </li></ul><ul><li>Radio provided the first alternative mass media in the 1920s. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What was radio’s association with politics? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Television added another in the 1950s. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What was television’s association with politics? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Voters are more likely to turn to television for political information than any other single source. </li></ul><ul><li>Three trends characterize media usage today </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A decline in the reliance on newspapers; declining interest in news among young people; the consumption of narrowcasting </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. EVOLVING CIVIC LIFE AND MEDIA CHANGES <ul><li>Newspaper circulation has declined dramatically since its peak in 1985. </li></ul><ul><li>Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 are much less attentive to news than are members of any other generation. </li></ul><ul><li>Young people are more likely to report using the Internet to gather information and are more skeptical of traditional news sources. </li></ul><ul><li>The young have also turned to social networks to engage in political activity. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How important are Twitter, Facebook, and other social mediums going to be to the political process in the future? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Narrowcasting, programming directed to a specific population segment, has changed the way citizens receive messages from political leaders. </li></ul><ul><li>Has narrowcasting been beneficial? Harmful? </li></ul>
  6. 6. THE MEDIA ENVIRONMENT IN AMERICA <ul><li>Private individuals have always owned the nation’s media outlets. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Is the United States a rare case? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Ownership of U.S. media outlets is becoming more highly concentrated. </li></ul><ul><li>Should the major goal of the media be to inform or entertain? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What has the emphasis on profits led to? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Because the number of broadcasting frequencies is limited, the government regulates use of the airwaves. </li></ul>
  7. 7. THE MEDIA ENVIRONMENT IN AMERICA <ul><li>Government can exercise no prior restraint of censorship due to 1 st amendment rights, through the ruling of the courts </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Are there are circumstances where it would be allowed? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Limited amount of airwaves; declared public property; with government control </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Creation of FCC in 1934 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Federal Communications Commission sets limits on private ownership of broadcast stations. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What were the limits? Still apply today? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The FCC also makes rules affecting the content of radio and TV broadcasts. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What is the equal time rule and the fairness doctrine? </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. THE MEDIA ENVIRONMENT IN AMERICA <ul><li>Today’s TV news emphasizes celebrities, life-style, and human-interest stories (focus on entertainment) </li></ul><ul><li>The national media has embraced “attack journalism,” which is hostile toward government, political processes, and politicians. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Is the media to easy on popular leaders? Primarily the president? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Despite studies to the contrary, many people believe the media has a liberal bias. </li></ul><ul><li>The U.S. news media provides generally balanced coverage, with many specialized outlets catering to particular points of view. </li></ul>
  9. 9. MEDIA AND POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS <ul><li>Broadcast of a candidate’s activities or messages as news items is known as “free media” or “earned media.” </li></ul><ul><li>Campaign handlers stage free-media events to show candidates at maximum advantage. </li></ul><ul><li>Exclusive interviews for positive coverage </li></ul><ul><li>Candidates attempt to spin the news – convince the media to apply a particular interpretation to a story. </li></ul><ul><li>Sound bites have become the norm with media and candidates. Lacks depth but does allow to state position(s). </li></ul>
  10. 10. MEDIA AND POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS <ul><li>Presidential debates offer an opportunity to compare candidates side by side. </li></ul><ul><li>Nixon/Kennedy debate: Who won? </li></ul><ul><li>Candidates must look, as well as sound, presidential in a presidential debate. </li></ul><ul><li>Challengers have more to gain from debating than incumbents. </li></ul><ul><li>Mistakes are easily pounced upon (Ford) </li></ul><ul><li>A candidate must come across as someone the audience would like to invite into their homes. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Sabato – Feeding Frenzy <ul><li>Sabato argues that the media have replaced political parties as the new “screening process” for candidates? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Do you believe this to be the case? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>“ We are the people who want to prevent the bad characters from crossing over into public office” – Brit Hume </li></ul><ul><li>What does the term “frenzy” apply to in his article? </li></ul><ul><li>What event does he claim starts this frenzy? </li></ul><ul><li>He uses 36 cases up until 1990 to demonstrate the effect of the media on political/personal mistakes of elites. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Sabato – Feeding Frenzy (Cont) <ul><li>What did Watergate do to the young generation of reporters? </li></ul><ul><li>Media today has made ANY character flaws a major deterrent into politics? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Is this limiting the amount of good candidates? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Sabato’s study only goes until 1990. Are his findings still valid today? Any other cases of a media “feeding frenzy” recently? </li></ul>
  13. 13. MEDIA AND POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS <ul><li>Advertising, particularly television advertising, is a staple of modern presidential campaigns. </li></ul><ul><li>Because media is privately owned, candidates who want greater exposure need to buy airtime </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Can be either positive or negative messages </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Since the 1996 presidential elections, the Internet has become an increasingly important part of political campaigns. </li></ul><ul><li>The Internet has became a major tool for identifying potential supporters. </li></ul><ul><li>Blogging has helped democratize the media by allowing individuals to communicate to mass audiences. However there is no mechanism for distinguishing fact from fiction </li></ul>
  14. 14. MEDIA AND POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS <ul><li>The media cover politics a lot like they cover sports, as if campaigns were a game. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Media stress winning and losing; strategy and tactics get more attention than policy positions </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The favorite game reference in political coverage is the horse race. </li></ul><ul><li>The private lives and personal failures of candidates are now considered fair game for reporters. </li></ul><ul><li>Public opinion polls created a new dynamic for election night reporting. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The media are tempted to predict the winners on the basis of the polls, rather than wait for the vote count </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Exit polls allow pollsters to determine voting trends before the polls close </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. GOVERNMENT COVERAGE IN THE MEDIA <ul><li>The relationship between the media and the president has always contained some acrimony. </li></ul><ul><li>As the press became more independent and professional, presidents became more sophisticated in their dealings with reporters. </li></ul><ul><li>Lincoln – press censorship (wartime) </li></ul><ul><li>Wilson – first to hold regular press conferences </li></ul><ul><li>F.D.R. – good relationship with press – led to long honeymoon period from media </li></ul><ul><li>Reagan – “The Great Communicator” </li></ul>
  16. 16. GOVERNMENT COVERAGE IN THE MEDIA <ul><li>With so many members, it is more difficult for the media to cover Congress. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Congress lacks a single leader to act as spokesperson </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The media focus on congressional party leaders, committee chairs and—for local media—local legislators </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Large press corps - Over 3000 members </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The national media treat Congress with great cynicism. </li></ul>
  17. 17. GOVERNMENT COVERAGE IN THE MEDIA <ul><li>The activities of the Supreme Court are cloaked in secrecy; this makes coverage difficult. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Media reports deal with ideological splits on the Court, and winners and losers in particular cases </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Americans are more familiar with state trial courts than they are with the U.S. Supreme Court </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fascinated with celebrity trials </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Wattenberg – Where Have All the Voters Gone? <ul><li>What does Wattenberg argue that narrowcasting has led to? </li></ul><ul><li>The ratings for televised addresses have decreased dramatically since the 60’s. Why? </li></ul><ul><li>What is the relationship between age and political knowledge in the 1964 NES study? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>2000 NES study? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>“ There has never been, nor ever will be, a people who are politically ignorant and free.” – Jefferson </li></ul><ul><li>Chicken-Egg Question? Which comes first, youth participation or elites caring about youth issues? </li></ul>

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