11-18-09_P200_Notes - American Politics and the Political...

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American Politics and the Political Media Who was “Deep Throat?” -Deep Throat -W. Mark Felt -Effectively second in charge at the FBI under Hoover, and heir-apparent to Hoover -Nixon, however, passed him over for the top spot when Hoover died. - (Woodward and Felt met by chance at the White House when Woodward was in the Navy; developed a kind of mentor relationship, long before Woodward was a reporter) - Were Felt’s disclosures legal? -Probably not; given that he divulged grand jury testimony and the contents of FBI reports. - What were his motives? Hero? Or Villain American Political News Media -Madisonian Institutions and the Media -Effective and Fair governance requires informed and educated citizens -News Media free from government control or interference (Freedom of expression) -Media as alternative source of power in a democracy -Media as institutional check on government - Is the American political news media an effective watchdog on government power or an ineffective lapdog? Media as Watchdog “Yes, watchdogs have some disgusting habits, but they’re necessary…” Media as Lapdog Media as Clown: Incompetence Media as Clown: Manipulation Media: Liberal Bias Media: Elite Corporate Controlled Changing Media Landscape -Decline in newspapers -Slight decline in TV -Increase in internet Network News Ratings -Steady decline Public Perception of Media Accuracy and Fairness -Americans do not have faith that the news media is doing a good job Perceptions of Media Bias -Source: Pew Center for People and the Press, Sept 2009
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Distrust of News Media - Why do Americans distrust the news media? -Reasons -Focus on conflict, process, and political tactics (horserace) rather than substance of issues and how they will affect people -Media pretense to expertise -Media cynicism about American politics and democracy -Media as another faction : Self-interested, out of touch, highly paid Competing Academic Models -Important Questions -Does the political news media effectively act as a check on concentrated government power? -Does the media effectively empower democratic citizenship, or does it fail the test of democracy - The Market Model/ Watchdog Hypothesis -The Propaganda Model/Laptop Hypothesis The Market Model: Watchdog -Marketplace of Ideas: Classic view of free speech in the U.S.
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11-18-09_P200_Notes - American Politics and the Political...

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