The Media
Michael P. Fix
History of the Mass Media
History of the Mass Media:
Print Media

First newspaper: Boston
News-Letter, April 1704
• During Revolutionary
War, newsp...
History of the Mass Media:
Radio
• Radio Act of 1927
− Established the airwaves as
a public good, subject to
governmental ...
History of the Mass Media: Television
Unlike newspapers and
radio stations, high
costs dictated that
almost from the
begin...
The Internet
Internet Access by
Selected
Characteristics:
2003 (in
percentages
Where Americans Get Their News
Functions of the Mass
Media
Functions of the Media:
Entertainment
Entertainment is the primary function of the media
Functions of the Media: Entertainment
• The distinction between
entertainment and the news
has become increasingly
blurred...
Functions of the Media: News
The media
keeps the public
informed as to
the actions and
policies of
government
agencies and...
The Role of Profits
Libertarian View
The media should show
what they think the
public wants, with no
concern for the
conse...
Social Effects of the Media
Three important societal functions of
the media
Surveillance
Interpretation
Socialization
Functions of the Media: Surveillance

The media has a
watchdog role as the
“eyes and ears of the
world”
Functions of the Media: Interpretation
The power to set the context, to frame the issue, to interpret the
facts, and poten...
Functions of the Media: Socialization
The media is an agent of
socialization, teaching us
political facts and
opinions tha...
The Media and Politics:
Reporting on Government
Controlling the News
Officials want to control
information about
themselves and their
policies, including the
way such inf...
Controlling the News
One very popular tactic of politicians trying to get free
press is to stage “pseudo-events”
Power of the Media
Gatekeeping
Deciding what stories will be
on the public’s agenda and
which will be sidelined.
Agenda Se...
Covering the President
Three general forms of communication
from the White House:
§ Press Releases
§ News Briefings
§ News...
Media Covering Congress
and the Courts

The Media gives far less
attention to Congress than
the president

Of all three ...
The Media and Politics:
Campaigns
Media in Campaigns
How does the media affect campaigns?
• Determining “front-running candidates”
• Charging for advertisin...
Government Regulation of
the Media
National Security Concerns

Sometimes the interest of the press and
government are in conflict.

The press desires to pr...
National Security Concerns
Davis, Darren W., and Brian D. Silver. 2004. “Civil Liberties vs. Security: Public Opinion in t...
Censorship of the Media
Broadcast media has fewer protections than
print media, and can be fined by the FCC for
violating ...
Media and the Right to Privacy

Sometimes news coverage has the potential
to infringe upon individual privacy rights
− Ra...
Media and the Right to Privacy
Hustler Magazine v.
Falwell (1988)
Hustler (Nov, 1983). © 1983 Hustler Magazine, Inc.
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Media

  1. 1. The Media Michael P. Fix
  2. 2. History of the Mass Media
  3. 3. History of the Mass Media: Print Media  First newspaper: Boston News-Letter, April 1704 • During Revolutionary War, newspapers abandon impartiality and work to build resistance to British policies • The party press  1833 advent of the penny press  Yellow journalism  Centralization of ownership of newspapers in early 20th century has continued to this day
  4. 4. History of the Mass Media: Radio • Radio Act of 1927 − Established the airwaves as a public good, subject to governmental oversight • The Federal Communications Commission − created in 1934
  5. 5. History of the Mass Media: Television Unlike newspapers and radio stations, high costs dictated that almost from the beginning TV stations were affiliated with networks, thus centralizing ownership
  6. 6. The Internet Internet Access by Selected Characteristics: 2003 (in percentages
  7. 7. Where Americans Get Their News
  8. 8. Functions of the Mass Media
  9. 9. Functions of the Media: Entertainment Entertainment is the primary function of the media
  10. 10. Functions of the Media: Entertainment • The distinction between entertainment and the news has become increasingly blurred • Murphy Brown and Vice- President Dan Qualye
  11. 11. Functions of the Media: News The media keeps the public informed as to the actions and policies of government agencies and officials
  12. 12. The Role of Profits Libertarian View The media should show what they think the public wants, with no concern for the consequences Social Responsibility Theory The media needs to balance what the public wants with what’s good for it Who should control the media? Two views
  13. 13. Social Effects of the Media Three important societal functions of the media Surveillance Interpretation Socialization
  14. 14. Functions of the Media: Surveillance  The media has a watchdog role as the “eyes and ears of the world”
  15. 15. Functions of the Media: Interpretation The power to set the context, to frame the issue, to interpret the facts, and potentially to provide legitimacy for people, issues, or groups are powerful and controversial functions of the media
  16. 16. Functions of the Media: Socialization The media is an agent of socialization, teaching us political facts and opinions that help form our political belief- structures and our political culture
  17. 17. The Media and Politics: Reporting on Government
  18. 18. Controlling the News Officials want to control information about themselves and their policies, including the way such information is framed and presented by the media
  19. 19. Controlling the News One very popular tactic of politicians trying to get free press is to stage “pseudo-events”
  20. 20. Power of the Media Gatekeeping Deciding what stories will be on the public’s agenda and which will be sidelined. Agenda Setting Deciding what will be decided, defining the problems and issues to be addressed by decision makers
  21. 21. Covering the President Three general forms of communication from the White House: § Press Releases § News Briefings § News Conferences
  22. 22. Media Covering Congress and the Courts  The Media gives far less attention to Congress than the president  Of all three branches of government, the courts tend to get the least amount of coverage
  23. 23. The Media and Politics: Campaigns
  24. 24. Media in Campaigns How does the media affect campaigns? • Determining “front-running candidates” • Charging for advertising • Televising debates • Portraying charismatic politicians as more “electable”
  25. 25. Government Regulation of the Media
  26. 26. National Security Concerns  Sometimes the interest of the press and government are in conflict.  The press desires to print all newsworthy stories, and the government desires to preserve security. − New York Times v. US (1971)
  27. 27. National Security Concerns Davis, Darren W., and Brian D. Silver. 2004. “Civil Liberties vs. Security: Public Opinion in the Context of the Terrorist Attacks on America.” American Journal of Political Science, Vol. 48, No. 1. (Jan., 2004), pp. 28-46.
  28. 28. Censorship of the Media Broadcast media has fewer protections than print media, and can be fined by the FCC for violating certain standards From www.msnbc.msn.com (left) and www.radiomacho.com (right)
  29. 29. Media and the Right to Privacy  Sometimes news coverage has the potential to infringe upon individual privacy rights − Rape victims  Cox Broadcasting Corporation v. Cohn (1975) − Trials − Public figures and private individuals  New York Times v. Sullivan (1964)
  30. 30. Media and the Right to Privacy Hustler Magazine v. Falwell (1988) Hustler (Nov, 1983). © 1983 Hustler Magazine, Inc.

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