News Frames, Political Cynicism, and Media Cynicism (summary of reading)

News Frames, Political Cynicism, and Media Cynicism (summary of reading)

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News Frames, Political Cynicism, and Media Cynicism Background Information A) The problem is that cynicism saps the public’s confidence in politics and government, and encourages the assumption that what we see is not what it seems. B) News polls in recent years justify this problem, Congress is receiving worse evaluations. C) The healthy skepticism that long characterized public attitudes toward the institution has degenerated into corrosive cynicism. D) A greater concern is that cynicism may be grounded in experience with those who are more active and more informed. Congress is rated more poorly among “the more politically active and attentive citizenry”. E) However, the gradually poorer evaluation of the political institution does not show the erosion in the legitimacy of the political system. Americans retained their faith in the country’s basic institutional order; there is deep-seated allegiance to the values of democracy and free enterprise. F) It is found that over the years press coverage of Congress has moved from healthy skepticism to outright cynicism. This is called the “game or strategy structure of contemporary journalism”, the fundamental change in the distribution of media coverage from issue-based stories to stories that emphasize which candidates are ahead and behind and the strategies and tactics of campaigning necessary to position a candidate to get ahead or to stay behind. G) Talking about strategies is okay, however, problem occurs when strategy stories dominate the news, crowding out discussions more relevant to issues of governance. H) Features of strategy coverage a) winning and losing as the central concern b) The language of wars, games, and competition c) Mention of performers, critics, and audience (voters) d) Emphasis on performance, style, and perception of the candidate e) Great weight being given to polls and position in evaluating campaigns and candidates Strategy Coverage and Cynicism A) There are good reasons to be concerned about the effects of the way the news frames politicians, policy, campaigns, and governance, not only for the quality of democracy but also for perceptions about the press.
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News Frames, Political Cynicism, and Media Cynicism (summary of reading)

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