Lesson 16
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Lesson 16. The Mass Media. Structure of the Mass Media. Plays a crucial role in government Includes all the means of communications that bring messages to the general public Includes the following: Television, radio, online services, newspapers, magazines, newsletters, and books.

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Lesson 16

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Lesson 16

Lesson 16

The Mass Media


Structure of the mass media

Structure of the Mass Media

  • Plays a crucial role in government

  • Includes all the means of communications that bring messages to the general public

  • Includes the following:

    • Television, radio, online services, newspapers, magazines, newsletters, and books


Print media

Print Media

  • Has been called the “fourth branch” of the government

  • Flow of information vital to democracy since colonial times

  • Only included newspapers and radio until the 1960’s

  • Books, magazines and the Internet are more popular in current times


Electronic media

Electronic Media

  • Ninety-nine percent(99%) of all Americans have radios in their cars and homes

  • 1960’s television replaced newspapers as main source of news

  • Internet main source of information since 1990's

  • Social media gained importance in the 2008 and 2012 elections


Who owns mass media

Who Owns Mass Media?

  • Some countries - government controls some or all media

  • U.S. - nearly all media is privately owned

    • Profit seeking businesses

  • Government regulates these communications


  • The role of the press

    The Role of the Press

    • To inform the public

    • The Framers believed responsible press and informed public were necessary to protect democracy

    • Checkbook journalism - when journalists pay for dramatic stories

    • Drama, violence and celebrity coverage attract a larger audience than foreign policy debates

    • Need to entertain vs. duty to inform often conflict


    Media impact on government

    Media Impact on Government

    • Uneasy relationship - politicians rely on media to help reach goals and to pass on messages

    • Mutually beneficial relationship - the media helps the president, president helps the media

      • President is the source of 80% of government news and coverage

      • President uses the media to “sell” ideas and policies to the public


    Ways to share information

    Ways to Share Information

    • News release - a ready-made story officials prepare for members of the press

    • News briefing- announcement or explanation of a policy, decision or action

    • Press conference - involves the news media’s questioning of a high level government official

    • Leak- release of secret information by an anonymous government official

    • Media event - a visually interesting event designed to reinforce a politician's position on some issue

    • Backgrounders- important information given by the president or another top official


    Media and campaigns

    Media and Campaigns

    • Horse-race coverage of elections-focuses on “winners”, “losers” and “who’s ahead” instead of focusing on policy issues

    • Front-runner-an early leader declared by the media; these people are then able to attract big money in campaign contributions

    • Television greatly impacts and influences presidential campaigns

    • Candidates must be telegenic - project a pleasing appearance and performance on camera

    • Helps little known candidates become well known quickly

    • Has encouraged celebrities to enter politics


    Campaign advertising

    Campaign Advertising

    • The first candidates in American history did not campaign; they left this work to their supporters

    • Then they used advertisements in newspapers and magazines and mass mailings

    • 1924 radio campaigning begins

    • 1952 television campaigning begins

    • Spot advertising - brief, frequent, positive descriptions of the candidate; may also be negative for opposing candidate


    Lesson 16

    ___ __ _____ ____

    Role of Social Media

    • In recent elections social media has become very influential

    • Barack Obama used social media more successfully than any other candidate ever (2008 and 2012 elections)


    Financing advertising

    Financing Advertising

    • Candidates today must spend huge sums of money in order to pay for the television advertising campaigns

    • “The cost of TV time-buys makes fundraising an enormous entry barrier for candidates for public office, an oppressive burden for incumbents who seek reelection, a continuous threat to the integrity of our political institutions,

    and a principal cause of the erosion of public respect for public service.” - Reed Hunt, 1995


    The public agenda

    The Public Agenda

    • A list of societal problems that both political leaders and citizens agree need government attention

    • For example: the economy, immigration, unemployment, gun control, the deficit and defense

    • Mass media plays an important role in setting the public agenda- they highlight some issues and ignore others

    Television malaise - media’s focus on bad news has led some people to feel uneasy and feel distrustful and cynical


    Regulation of the media

    Regulation of the Media

    • The First Amendment protects free speech of individuals; individuals own the media

    • The mass media in the U.S. has more freedom than anywhere else in the world

    • Government regulations are aimed at providing order, fairness and access to media


    Lesson 16

    _________ ___ ____

    Protecting the Media

    • Libel - false written statements intended to damage a person’s reputation

    • The Right to Gather Information- collecting information about government actions and decisions

    • The Right of Access - authorities do not have to give the media special right of access to crime or disaster sites if the general public is excluded

    • Protection of Sources - success in gathering news may depend on getting information from people who do not want their names made public


    Regulating the media

    Regulating the Media

    • Equal time doctrine - requires stations to give equal airtime to candidates for public office

    • Fairness doctrine -removed in 1996, was supposed to provide “reasonable opportunities for the expression of opposing views on controversial issues of public importance”.

    • Federal Communications Commission (FCC) created to manage all types of electronic communications

    • FCC regulates over-the-air and cable television, radio, telephones, satellites

    • Require stations to operate in the public interest (the reason there is no swearing on radio or public TV)


    Media and national security

    Media and National Security

    • Should government have the right to limit information during times of war?

    • Conflict because:

      • Government needs to keep secrets

      • Citizens’ need for information

  • Government attempts to control information about national security by classifying information as “secret”


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