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The Influence Of Government

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The Influence Of Government

  1. 1. The influence of government over the media
  2. 2. Government officials have a number of ways to influence media content <ul><li>The media are dependent upon officials for the largest amount of source material </li></ul><ul><li>The US government provides a number of subsidies to media companies </li></ul><ul><li>The government protects media companies from foreign or domestic attack </li></ul><ul><li>Officials woo journalists who are compliant </li></ul><ul><li>Officials can withhold information </li></ul><ul><li>Officials can censor—especially during wartime </li></ul>
  3. 3. Government subsidies <ul><li>Newspaper delivery rules </li></ul><ul><li>Third class postal rates </li></ul><ul><li>Special merger rules </li></ul><ul><li>Public broadcasting subsidies </li></ul><ul><li>Spectrum allocation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>HDTV bonanza </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. “ According to official sources . . .” <ul><li>News organizations depend on official sources for their raw materials and interpretations of events </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Must ‘fill in the white space between the ads’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Backgrounding </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Quotes </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ Exclusives” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>White papers </li></ul></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Just being there is 90% of the battle Government controls access <ul><li>During war, who is in ‘embedded’? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Army control over where they go, who they talk to, what they say, to some extent </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Press releases </li></ul><ul><li>Press conferences </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Who gets called on? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Who isn’t invited back? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Press passes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Official meetings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Air Force One, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What organizations are considered the ‘press’? </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. President v. Congress <ul><li>The administration has much greater control over sources of information than Congress does </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Official secrets </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Loyalty to the president </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Hand-picked assistants </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can remove any leak from inner circle </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>President is ultimate news source </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>No alternative for journalists to turn to </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Physical access of journalists controlled </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>White House, Pentagon, State, etc. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Modern focus on, fascination with, president </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>National spokesperson, “nation’s leader” </li></ul></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Career motivation <ul><li>Journalists get ahead by getting “scoops” and inside information </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Government officials can use this to control press behavior </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Trial balloons </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“off the record” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Use press as a weapon against opposition </li></ul></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Media ownership <ul><li>Media owners tend to be more conservative than journalists </li></ul><ul><li>Media owners are interested in the business climate of the country </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ longer range” view </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Have at times been called upon to keep a story out of the public eye </li></ul><ul><ul><li>National security </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Inappropriate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Political favor </li></ul></ul>

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