Media and politics in canada
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Media and Politics in Canada. Pol Sci 220 St Francis Xavier University 2013. Media and Politics in Canada : Topics Covered. Roles of the Media in politics Structure of Canadian media industry Economic factors Legal and regulatory issues The exploding impact of technology

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Media and Politics in Canada

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Media and Politics in Canada

Pol Sci 220

St Francis Xavier University


Media and Politics in Canada : Topics Covered

  • Roles of the Media in politics

  • Structure of Canadian media industry

  • Economic factors

  • Legal and regulatory issues

  • The exploding impact of technology

  • Practical considerations about newsgathering

  • The ideological impact of the media

Media’s role in politics

  • Direct roles

    • Reportage, news gathering and editing

    • Investigative journalism

    • Political and policy commentary

Media’s role in politics

  • Indirect effects

    • A self-appointed defender of democracy

    • framing the public agenda

    • a conservative institution reflecting dominant social values

    • Shaping the message through the medium (technology) – major impact on the nature of political communication

The Structure of the Canadian Industry

  • Concentrated ownership of TV and radio, with competition from cable and internet

  • Major access for US based TV and radio, cable and internet news providers

  • Concentrated ownership of newspapers through chains

  • Dominance of “national” newspapers – Globe and Mail, National Post

  • Important role of CBC / Radio Canada

Economic factors affecting the media industry

  • Most media outlets need to turn a profit: and most are very profitable.

  • A very rapid pace of technological change

  • Global convergence strategies: news and entertainment

  • Role of public broadcasters: essential coverage and competition in underserved markets

  • Advertising as driver of profitability -- influences content?

Legal and Regulatory Issues

  • Federal government regulates bandwidth, television signals

  • The print media and broadcasting are largely self-regulated.

  • The special mandate of the CBC is provided by federal legislation

  • Media as a protected cultural product (e.g. Canadian magazines)

  • Protecting culture through the media (e.g. Canadian music content rules)

Effects of technology

  • Postman: TV as “instant therapy”, rise of the 30-second attention span

  • Dependence of news and public affairs commentary on:

    • Action shots

    • Confrontation

    • Stereotypes

  • New technologies: cell-phones etc.– increasing access or dumbing down content ?

The pragmatics of news production

  • Limited resources mean selective coverage

  • News covers the predictable

  • The “Lazy journalism” phenomenon

  • News management as part of the art of politics

Ideological Impact

  • Journalists are more cosmopolitan, and more progressive (left-wing) than the average Canadian

  • But journalists work for orthodox businesses (except the CBC)

Media and Democracy

  • Noam Chomsky – “manufacturing of consent”

  • Frank L Wright – “chewing gum of the mind” – media as distraction

  • Oversimplification of complex issues – “dumbing down” effect of technology

  • Inaccessible to those without money or “savvy”

  • Yet, continuing impact as a check on the abuse of executive power

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