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310LSpring2008Media - The News Media and Politics What you...

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The News Media and Politics What you need to know to become a better media consumer
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What the news media do They mediate between (that is, connect in a way that influences both) the people and various political actors—especially those in government However, the news media (plus those who work for them) are themselves political actors as well, and so should be studied as such And they should not be believed automatically
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Media concentration and content See the textbook—an inadequately brief summary So, see for a diagram http://www.mediachannel.org/ownership/moguls-p And the Center for Public Integrity, at www.publicintegrity.org/telecom And see segments and transcripts on Bill Moyers’ NOW on PBS [access via www.PBS.org , search for Moyers Now , then media and/or FCC] See also Media Reform Daily at www.freepress.net
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Some important themes in textbook not covered in this lecture Box: ‘How much serious crime is there in the U.S.?’ Prevailing themes in political news nationalism approval of the American economic system negativity and scandal infotainment limited, fragmented, and incoherent political information Effects of the news media on politics Government regulation of the media
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How the Media Shape the News 1. The journalist’s role View of the goal or ideal Old view: neutral or objective No such thing—must select from enormous array Effort runs risk of being dupe of officials/sources (just reporting what they say) Contemporary view: balanced selection “Impartial” literally means “not on either part or side” “Balanced” suggests selecting from both (or perhaps many) sides
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Journalists’ values, beliefs, and culture as “lenses” through which they “see” politics
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