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THE MEDIA & POLITICS MASS MEDIA Media—plural of medium which “is a tangible element like a newspaper, tv, radio, computer, book, movie, CD, or DVD–anything that can transmit information, which is the thing that passes through the medium.” Means of communicating info gathered by journalists.

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Presentation Transcript
mass media
  • Media—plural of medium which “is a tangible element like a newspaper, tv, radio, computer, book, movie, CD, or DVD–anything that can transmit information, which is the thing that passes through the medium.”
      • Means of communicating info gathered by journalists.
  • Press—more associated with process of gathering journalistic information.
mass media3
  • Print—Newspapers, Magazines, etc.
  • Radio
  • Television
  • Internet
functions of the media
Functions of the Media
  • Transmit political information from political actors to the public
  • Gatekeeping
    • Media makes decisions about what is news, and for how long
  • Watchdog function
    • Informal check in our political system
      • Media allows the public to keep tabs on behavior of elected officials
  • Expand scope of an issue
    • More media attention leads to higher levels of public knowledge about issue
      • This leads to more pressure on politicians
grandpa s media
Grandpa’s Media
  • Media of the past was much more clear and concise, but not perfect.
  • Gatekeepers, such as editors, producers, prestigious journalists and even news anchors, controlled news content.
  • Traditional media is still controlled in this way.
  • Gatekeepers had a couple of effects:
    • Provided Stability
      • Consistency
      • Clarity
      • Political Information
    • Lacked Diversity
      • Limited Scope
      • Stifled New Ideas
media effectiveness
Media Effectiveness

Robert Dahl’s criteria for effective democratic processes:

  • Effective Participation
    • Equal & effective opportunities
    • Access
  • Enlightened Understanding
    • Way to understand political debate
    • Good information
media s political history
Media’s Political History
  • Early Developments:
    • Colonial Press
      • Controlled by British Government
      • Not allowed to criticize government
      • Avoided ‘hot-button’ issues
    • Stamp Act
      • Taxed newspapers
      • In response newspapers rebelled
    • Party Press
      • Voice of political parties (not fair & balanced
media s political history9
Media’s Political History
  • Early Developments:
    • Elitist beginnings
      • Expensive to print & buy
      • Limited voters
      • High illiteracy
    • Penny Press
      • Technology
      • Advertising
    • Sensationalism
      • Began focus on ‘big stories’ to sell
media s political history10
Media’s Political History
  • Significant transitions:
    • Yellow Journalism/ Sensationalism
      • Sex & Violence
      • Large headlines
      • Yellow print
    • Muckraking/Investigative Journalism
      • Corporate & political scandals
      • Promoted progressive reforms
    • Professionalism
      • Journalists focused on detached and balanced reporting
sabato s feeding frenzy
Sabato’s Feeding Frenzy
  • Lapdog journalism (1941-1966)
    • Reporting that served and reinforced the political establishment.
  • Watchdog (1966-1974)
    • Scrutinized and checked the behavior of political elites by undertaking independent investigations into statements made by public officials.
  • Junkyard dog (1974 to present)
    • Reporting that is often and harsh, aggressive intrusive, where feeding frenzies flourish and gossip reaches print.
causes of the feeding frenzy
Causes of the Feeding Frenzy
  • Advances in media technology
  • Competitive pressure
  • Political events
media s political history13
Media’s Political History
  • Technology-driven changes:
    • Radio
      • 1st real mass medium
      • “War of the Worlds” broadcast
    • Television
      • Became powerful in 1950’s
      • Kennedy Assassination
      • Viet Nam and Watergate
    • Internet
      • Al Gore?
      • News web pages & blogs
new media technologies
New Media Technologies
  • Satellites
  • Cable TV
  • Narrowcasting (CNN, MTV, ESPN)

vs. Broadcasting (NBC, CBS, ABC)

  • World Wide Web
politics and the internet
Politics and the Internet
  • A Channel for Interactive Mass Participation in Politics.
  • Designed to Operate without Central Authority.
  • Political Websites Abound.
    • Fundraising over the Internet
    • Building Political Support
    • Attracting volunteers
    • Staying in touch with Constituents
    • Blogging
    • Internet Polling
    • Internet Voting?
what is news
What is News?

Media scholar Doris A. Graber’s five characteristics newsworthy stories typically exhibit:

  • Conflict
  • Proximity
  • Timeliness & Originality
  • Relevance
  • Familiarity
what is news who says
What is News & Who Says?

Who should you trust for news?

  • CNN
  • FOX News
  • The Networks (ABC, NBC, CBS)
  • The Daily Show
  • Soft news vs. hard news:
    • MTV
    • Entertainment Tonight
    • The Daily Show/Colbert Report
    • SNL
  • Profit Motive
    • Media is big business
    • Corporate ownership
    • PBS & NPR
media regulation
Media Regulation

FCC (Federal Communications Commission

    • Monopolies
    • Licensing
    • Public Service
    • Fair Treatment
  • Equal Time Rule/Right of Rebuttal
  • Libel (print) / Slander (spoken)
  • Prior Restraint
the politics of the media
The Politics of the Media

Modern tools and tactics:

  • Media Events
  • Photo Opportunities (Photo Ops)
  • Spin
  • Free media & paid media
patterson s out of order
Patterson’s Out of Order
  • Trends in media coverage of elections
  • Tone of coverage  Positive to negative
  • Style  Descriptive to interpretive
  • Issues  Policy issues to reporters’ issues
patterson s out of order22
Patterson’s Out of Order


  • Tone of coverage  Positive to negative

Consequence: Voters distrust candidates, government, media

  • Style  Descriptive to interpretive

Consequence: Voters less informed

  • Issues  Policy issues to reporters’ issues

Consequence: Voters adopt media frames/primes

zaller s theory of media politics
Zaller’s Theory of Media Politics
  • Theory of campaign coverage needs to take into account the different interests of voters, media, and candidates
  • Voters: "Don’t waste my time"; "Tell me only what I need to know"
  • Candidates: Use journalists to "Get Our Story Out"
  • Journalists: Maximize their "voice" in the news