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Media & Politics What is the function of news in society? Traditional function of news Present a portrait of reality on which the citizen can act First Amendment Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press . . . News media as the “Fourth Estate”

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Traditional function of news

  • Present a portrait of reality on which the citizen can act


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First Amendment

Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press . . .

News media as the “Fourth Estate”


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TV and Politics

  • Americans get 80% of their political information from television

  • Why might this be problem?

  • Concerns about the nature of TV news

  • How do local newscasts differ from national newscasts?


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Video

“Illusions of News”

By Bill Moyers


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TV news criticized for

  • Emphasizing the "horse race"

  • . . . Conflict & controversy

  • . . . Ignoring issues

  • Priorities of coverage

    • (small news hole)


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CELEBRITY POLITICS

  • Media “treatment” of political campaigns

  • Superficial focus of coverage

  • Policy debate v. game of "gotcha"



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Media Critique

  • TV leads to “celebrity reporting”

  • Media, rather than candidates or parties set agenda


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  • Passive public

  • Products of an entertainment culture

  • Media both humanize & trivialize the political process

  • Nation like a film audience that only reads the review


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First Amendment

  • Public support is eroding

  • Some blame the press itself


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Lawrence Grossman

  • Broadcasters as public trustees of the public airwaves

  • Shrinking political coverage on network news

  • Network "profit center" vs "loss leader"

  • Diminished public service role

  • What is Grossman's proposal?



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