Chapter 10 - Study Guide

Chapter 10 - Study Guide - POLS 101I American National...

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POLS 101I – American National Government Hagan Chapter Ten The News Media: Communicating Political Images Learning Objectives Having read the chapter, the students should be able to do each of the following: 7336. Trace the development of the news media from the establishment of the first American newspapers to the modern system of broadcast networks, chain papers, and news services. 7337. Describe how the newspapers of the different historical periods have dealt with the issue of political partisanship. 7338. Give reasons for the high degree of uniformity characterizing the news coverage offered by the American media. 7339. Define the four roles of the media (signaler, common-carrier, watchdog, and public representative); assess the importance of the various roles to a democratic society; and identify the roles most or least suitable for the press and the extent to which media officials perform the various roles. Focus and Main Points The focus of this chapter is on the role of the media in politics. The chapter begins with a review of the news media’s historical development and the current trends in reporting. The author chronicles the switch from a partisan to an objective press, and examines issues of press freedom and conformity. In addition, the roles the news media can and cannot be expected to adequately perform in the American political system are assessed. The author concludes with a discussion of the relationship between the media and the public in the modern era. The main points made by the author in this chapter are as follows: The American press was initially tied to the nation’s political party system (the partisan press) but gradually developed an independent position (the objective press). In the process, the news shifted from a political orientation, which emphasized political values and ideas, to a journalistic orientation, which stresses newsworthy information and evaluations. In recent years, traditional news organizations have faced increased competition for people’s attention. Cable and the Internet have contributed to a fragmenting of the news audience and, to a lesser extent, to the rise of opinionated journalism. In fulfilling their responsibility to the public, the news media plays several roles—signaling role (the press brings relevant events and problems into public view); the common-carrier role (the press serves as a channel through which political leaders can address the public); the watchdog role (the press scrutinizes official behavior for evidence of deceitful, careless, or corrupt acts); and the public representative role (the press promotes particular interests and values). The American press is better equipped to handle the first three of these roles than the fourth. Media officials cannot do the job of political officials, even though some journalists may try to do so.
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Chapter 10 - Study Guide - POLS 101I American National...

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