Unformatted text preview: The Media
GOV 310L American Government What is mass media? Points of Interest What are the forms of mass media? How did the various forms of mass media develop? How did presidents transform the political power of the radio? How did Eisenhower and Kennedy transform the political power of television? What are the new forms of media and what are their political consequences? What role does the internet play in political interest? What is the relationship between the government and the various forms of media? What are the various ways the media affects the opinions of Americans? Mass Media Means of communication that are technologically capable of reaching most people and economically affordable to most Most people’s knowledge of politics comes from the media Laws and understandings in the U.S. give the media substantial freedom There is a long tradition of private media ownership in U.S. Newspapers Newspapers first began as a means of communication for Political Parties
– Published Weekly 1833 New York Sun began daily printing with the development of the penny press.
– – – – Now papers focused more on local news Sensationalism Humaninterest story Papers still strongly tied to parties After Civil War more independent newspapers begin to emerge.
– “yellow journalism” Today newspapers are still an important aspect of the media Mergers have led to one or two papers serving a metropolitan area – 10,000 newspapers and 12,000 periodicals – We have seen a decline in the number of independent newspapers Radio The first radio stations were established in the 1920’s.
– News radio agencies were established in the 1930’s. Presidents have used radio stations to communicate with the public.
– – – – – Calvin Coolidge Franklin Roosevelt “fireside chats” Ronald Reagan Bill Clinton George W. Bush While radio does have a strong local orientation, it still has national effects.
– National Talk Radio – Rush Limbaugh Show – Air America Television First television station went on the air in 1939
– The popularity of television grew slowly 1960 90% of households had a television Today 99% of households have a television Dwight D. Eisenhower was the first to use the television to communicate with voters. – John F. Kennedy is noted as elevating television past the print media in terms of communicating with the public. Kennedy – Nixon Debate TV is the Primary Source of News for Contemporary Americans But there has been a decline.. Contemporary Americans Consider TV Their Most Credible Source of News Accuracy in Media Cable Television The role of cable television has grown in the past two decades
– 20% of households had cable in 1980 – 67% of households had cable in 2000 The three major networks have loss about 30% of their viewers to cable. Gaveltogavel coverage of House proceedings since 1979 (CSPAN) – The three major networks have about 36 million viewers daily. Broadcast News Is Losing Ground to Cable and Satellite News New Media New media refers to new types of technology as well as different ways to reach the public
– – – Bill Clinton on the Arsenio Hall Show Ross Perot on Larry King Live George Bush on MTV CNN and other cable news outlets are fairly new and present new ways for politicians to express their opinions to the public. The Internet The internet is emerging as a key source of information. While most people are not using the internet to gain political information, candidates are using it for their supporters
– 1992 presidential election, neither presidential candidate had a website – 2000 people running for national, state, and local offices had websites. Websites also allow for donations Political Interest by Age The Internet and political interest Lupia and Philpot – They examine how the internet can increase interest in politics. – “The web’s potential as in instrument for increasing political interest comes from the fact that it allows people to post, at a minimal cost, content that can be viewed all over the world on an ever increasing array of devices.” How should we view the internet? “The Internet is not a monolith with which people interact as a whole. Instead, individuals interact with specific websites. When one site gets a viewer’s attention, the rest of the Internet does not.”
– “how certain websites affect certain kinds of people.” A viewers political interest can only be increased if: How can a website affect someone’s political interest? – The viewer is aware of the site or visits a site that makes her aware of it. – Views the site. – Perceives the site as providing interesting information effectively and efficiently. – Stays on it long enough to elaborate on the site’s content. – And the elaboration changes her beliefs about some phenomena, which, in turn changes her interest in politics. Their findings They find that an individual’s political interest can be affected by viewing a website if the person finds the website interesting.
– There are age differences in what people find interesting. – While MTV may be able to provide interest for young adults, the Economist may have more difficulty. The Government and Media Regulation Compared to electronic media, newspapers and other print media have few regulations. established to regulate radio industry. 1927 Federal Radio Commission – 1934 Federal Communications Commission – Provide licenses to operate – Specify the conditions of operation Journalism’s Goals Journalism’s first obligation is to the truth The first loyalty is to citizens It must serve as an independent monitor of power It must provide a forum for public criticism It must strive to make the significant interesting and relevant Role of the National Press Gatekeeper: influences what subjects become national political issues and for how long Scorekeeper: tracks political reputations and candidacies Watchdog: investigates personalities and exposes scandals Police Patrol Fire Alarm Equaltime rule Promulgated by the FCC, required any station selling time to a candidate to sell time to other candidates at a comparable rate. Now stations and networks can sponsor debates limited to major candidates Fairness Doctrine Promulgated by the FCC, required stations to carry some public affairs programming and to balance the points of view expressed.
– Repealed in 1987 Media Effects Selective Attention – Tendency to discount information that is inconsistent with one’s prior predispositions in favor of information consistent with what one already believes. – Filtering information Minimal Effects Thesis Theory that mass media have little or no effect on public opinion. The media has no direct or indirect influence on the decision making of Americans. Agenda Setting Occurs when the media affect the issues and problems people think about, even if the media do not determine what positions people adopt.
– The media does not tell you what to think, but what to think about. – Establishes the important issues. Sensationalism Intense competition among many media outlets means that each has a small share of the audience Sensationalism draws an audience and is cheaper than investigative reporting Reporters may not be checking sources carefully because there is such competition for stories Priming Occurs when the media affect the standards people use to evaluate political figures or the severity of a problem.
– Setting differing standards for evaluation – Bush first Iraq War – Economy Comparative Approval Ratings For Related Presidents Framing Occurs when the media induce people to think about an issues from one standpoint rather than from others.
– Not telling you what to think, but how to think about it. – Newspapers and the first Iraq War. Media Bias Members of the national media are generally more liberal than the average citizen Conservative media outlets have become more visible in recent years Talk radio is predominantly conservative Journalistic philosophy is that the news should be neutral and objective Media Bias Congress and the Press How do we know what our members of Congress are doing in Washington? In their districts? Where do you find out about your local congressman’s activities? internet , CSpan, national newspaper, a local newspaper, a newsweekly magazine, a radio program, etc… For a vibrant democracy, it is necessary for citizens to know what their elected representatives are doing in order to make informed judgments about their future Implications Are citizens largely to blame for how uninformed they seem about politics, or is the press more at fault for failing to report frequently and prominently basic facts about representatives? Informational environment—the quality and quantity of dissemination of knowledge (largely via traditional media sources) A rich informational environment is more likely to produce an informed citizenry Citizen and Representative The relationship between citizen and representative is a two way street, with the Press serving as the key intermediary A rich informational environment will make representatives more responsive, but also equip citizens with the tools necessary to reward or punish MC’s Like a trial court, an adversarial system between challenger and incumbent can provide information to citizens, but It is not necessarily informative—there can be inequities between the challenger and incumbent As we have seen, the role of the mass media has always been political. The mass media helps communicate the interests of public officials as well as regular citizens. Many politicians have seen the power of the media and have worked to use all of its various forms to influence America. While many in the media would argue that they do not tell the public what to think, the media and its operation directly and indirectly shape public opinion. Summary ...
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