GOVcampaignsandmedi

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GOVcampaignsandmedi

  1. 1. Media and Presidential Campaigns Mr. Jeremy Rinkel
  2. 2. The End of the National Audience? (Nielsen Ratings)
  3. 3. Trends in News Media Credibility: GSS Surveys 1973-98
  4. 4. Why is this topic important? <ul><li>“The United States is the only democracy that organizes its national election campaign around the news media.” </li></ul><ul><li>--Thomas Patterson, Harvard </li></ul>
  5. 5. Main topics: media coverage <ul><li>Horse-race v.s. issues </li></ul><ul><li>Attack journalism </li></ul><ul><li>Bias </li></ul><ul><li>Advertising </li></ul><ul><li>The polls </li></ul><ul><li>The presidential debates </li></ul><ul><li>Innovative journalism </li></ul>
  6. 6. Main topic: the audience <ul><li>Interest in campaigns </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge of campaigns </li></ul><ul><li>Where do we go for information </li></ul><ul><li>When do we want to know </li></ul><ul><li>How do these media messages influence us? </li></ul>
  7. 7. Horse-race v.s. Issues <ul><li>The bulk of media coverage focuses on who’s winning rather than on discussion of issues </li></ul><ul><li>Termed “horse-race” coverage </li></ul>
  8. 8. Horse-race v.s. Issues <ul><li>Why is horse-race coverage so common? </li></ul><ul><li>Length of campaigns </li></ul><ul><li>“Old news” is something to be avoided </li></ul><ul><li>Candidates replay their “stump speeches” throughout the campaign </li></ul><ul><li>We are more interested in a race than in a discussion of an issue </li></ul>
  9. 9. Attack Journalism <ul><li>“ Modern presidential campaign coverage is often mean-spirited and ugly. </li></ul><ul><li>--Larry Sabato, University of Virginia </li></ul>
  10. 10. Attack journalism <ul><li>A focus on the weaknesses of a candidate </li></ul><ul><li>A candidate’s private life is fair game </li></ul><ul><li>An assumption that candidates do things un-noble reasons </li></ul>
  11. 11. Consequences of attack journalism <ul><li>Candidates become more secretive </li></ul><ul><li>Coverage becomes disproportionately negative and cynical </li></ul>
  12. 12. Biased coverage <ul><li>The most common criticism of press coverage of a political campaign: A newspaper/network favors one candidate over others </li></ul><ul><li>Bias in amount of coverage, tone of stories, story topics </li></ul>
  13. 13. Biased Coverage <ul><li>Any news story can be skewed in content or tone </li></ul><ul><li>But studies of bias point to two strong predictors of our perception of bias: </li></ul><ul><li>1) Whether a story fits our beliefs about what’s true </li></ul><ul><li>2) The extent to which the mass media focus on bias as an issue </li></ul>
  14. 14. Biased coverage <ul><li>Charges of bias are a direct attack on the objectivity of the press </li></ul><ul><li>But are charges of bias true? </li></ul>
  15. 15. Audience is an important factor <ul><li>Members of the audience are active participants in the construction of messages </li></ul><ul><li>You cannot determine what message was delivered only by looking at the message sent </li></ul>
  16. 16. What do you need to know about the audience <ul><li>How interested are they in the campaign? </li></ul><ul><li>How much do they know about the candidates? </li></ul><ul><li>Have they already made up their minds about their voting intention? </li></ul><ul><li>Where do they go to find campaign information? </li></ul>
  17. 17. Sources: <ul><li>http://pcl.stanford.edu/teaching/2004/comm162/lecture041904/comm162slides041804.pps#8 </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.journalism.wisc.edu/~dunwoody/j201/2000prez/sld002.htm </li></ul>

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