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THE MEDIA - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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THE MEDIA Introduction President C linton's involvement in extramarital affairs raises a number of interesting points and questions about the role of the media in american government and politics. How could a sex scandal threaten the president? Why Clinton and not his predecessors?

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Presentation Transcript
  • President Clinton's involvement in extramarital affairs raises a number of interesting points and questions about the role of the media in american government and politics.
How could a sex scandal threaten the president?
  • Why Clinton and not his predecessors?
    • FDR, Ike, Kennedy.
The answer to the first question lies in the American character.
    • We value order less in the abstract than citizens in other countries, but value order more on specific issues.
    • Culturally conservative.
The answer to the second question has two parts:
    • Media scrutiny of the private lives of president’s decreased in the 1930s,
    • Increased in the 1970’s when character became an important issue.
Freedom of the press is essential to democracy, but like other freedoms, it may also complicate the governing process.
When should the media support the government, and when should the media assume an adversarial posture toward it?
The factors that affect the balance between freedom of the press and social order include the media's own sense of what is right, government policies, and the american character.
As these three factors change and evolve, so does the balance between freedom of the press and order.
people government and communications
People, Government, and Communications
  • COMMUNICATION is the process of transmitting information from one individual or group to another.
MASS COMMUNICATION is the process by which information is distributed to large, heterogeneous, and widely dispersed audiences.
MASS MEDIArefers to the technologies employed in mass communication.
  • Two types of mass media:
    • Print.
    • Broadcast.
Group media, such as the fax and the Internet, are communications technologies used primarily within groups of common interest.
In a democracy, the media serve as a linkage mechanism between the people and their government.
the development of the mass media in the united states
The Development of the Mass Media in the United States
  • The development of the mass media in the United States reflects the growth of the country, technological innovation, and shifting political attitudes about the scope of government.
Newspapers:The newspapers operating during the American Revolution were initially organs of political parties, and they advocated party causes much as group media do today.
By the 1830s, newspapers were largely independent and had mass circulations; by the 1890s, they also included entertainment fare, such as comics, advice, and sports sections.
By 1997, due to fierce competition, only 58 U.S. cities and towns had two or more competing daily papers under separate ownership.
Today, the three largest national newspapers are
    • The Wall Street Journal, circulation 1.8 million
    • USA Today, circulation 1.6 million
    • The New York Times, circulation 1 million.
    • By comparison, the National Enquirer sells about 4 million copies each week.
    • Magazines tend to have a much smaller circulation and are often forums for opinion‑-to this extent magazines are more like group media than mass media.
  • In spite of their small circulation, magazines are politically influential through the two‑step flow of communication.
They influence attentive policyelites‑group leaders who follow news in specific areas.
  • Policy elites then influence mass opinion by circulating their views in the mass media.
  • Radio, which began commercial operation in the 1920s, made celebrities out of news personalities.
  • The novelty of radio was live coverage.
  • Today, radio is more important as a forum for talk than as a source of live coverage of events.
  • Though the growth of television was retarded by world war II, this medium grew explosively after the war ended.
  • Television increased the visibility of broadcast journalists and promoted the careers of politicians who learned to use the medium.
modern forms of group media
  • Fax transmissions and the Internet.
  • Though fax technology was available in the 1940s, it was applied primarily to the telephone, and newspapers used the technique to transmit images, called wire photos.
Today, the fax is used to communicate between campaign managers and campaign workers.
  • Washington officeholders communicate by fax among themselves.
The Internet began operating in 1969 and was used primarily by academic scientists to transmit messages, known as electronic mail (e‑mail).
  • By 1991 with advances in computer programs and encoding systems, a wide range of information could be viewed anywhere on the network.
One sign of the internet's growing importance is that many news stories appear on the world wide web before they appear in the mainstream media.
private ownership of the media
  • The mass media are privately owned in the United States.
  • They are in business to make money, which they do by selling advertising.
Private ownership of the mass media gives the news industry more political freedom in the United States than in most other countries.
  • But private ownership also makes the media more dependent on advertising profits.
Potential news stories are judged for their newsworthinessaccording to their audience appeal, which means high impact, sensationalism, familiarity, close‑to‑home character, and timeliness.
Media owners acquire additional media outlets to increase their profits.
  • The result has been a growing concentration of ownership in both print and broadcast journalism.
  • Fears of concentrating broadcast media under single ownership have led to government regulation of ownership patterns.
government regulation of the media
  • Government regulation of the broadcast media historically has addressed three aspects of their operation and has witnessed two political eras.
  • The 1934 Communications Act created the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and formed the basis for media regulation for more than sixty years.
Technical regulations arose because of the limited number of frequencies available for broadcasting.
  • With a limited number of frequencies, the many broadcasters . stepped on" one another's signals.
  • Broadcasters sought regulations and gave up freedom in order to impose order on the use of the airwaves.
The FCC also regulated the ownership of electronic media.
  • Broadcasters were limited in the number of television and radio stations they could own nationally.
  • Regulations also restricted the number of stations a single entity could own in any given community.
The FCC has also regulated broadcast content. (But note that content regulation has only applied to broadcasters, not newspapers, because broadcasters use the public airwaves.)
In 1978, the supreme court ruled that the FCC could prohibit“indecent” language on the radio.
  • Later, it limited such language to certain hours.
  • Then Congress passed a law prohibiting it at any time.
  • The Supreme Court rejected the law and left the FCC time period in place.

The language was from comedian George Carlin’s “Filthy Words

The equal opportunities rule provides that a station must make available an equal amount of time under the same conditions to all political candidates.
The reasonable access rule requires stations to make their facilities available to conflicting views from all responsible elements in the community.
Many changes began to undermine the basis for the 1934 Act.
  • Technological change made television commonplace, and it also brought about computers, fax machines, and satellite transmission. Businesses began to pressure Congress to remove restrictions so they could exploit these new technologies.
Many business leaders argued that with the expansion of the media, competition was sufficient to ensure a "marketplace of ideas," and therefore content regulation was an unnecessary abridgment of broadcasters' First Amendment rights.
The Reagan administration moved toward this view, and the FCC began to remove both ownership regulations and content regulations.
The Telecommunications Act of 1996 further removed many regulations.
  • It relaxed or eliminated ownership regulations.
  • Its intent was to allow all communications media‑ television, radio, cable television, and telephone‑to compete in offering varied services to customers.
  • So far, this law has resulted in a greater concentration of media ownership.
reporting and following the news
  • Five functions the mass media serve for the political system:
    • Reporting the news.
    • Interpreting the news.
    • Influencing the news.
    • Setting the agenda.
    • Socializing citizens
The media make the news by deciding what to report as news.
  • The major news media maintain journalists in major cities and government centers to report political events firsthand.
Washington, D.C., has the largest press corps of any city in the world over six thousand reporters.
  • White House correspondents rely heavily on information they receive in the press room in the west wing of the White House.
  • They receive stories routinely through news releases, news briefings, and news conferences.
Reporters are expected to observe rules associated with news given "on background" and "off the record.“
  • Through its press secretary, the White House feeds reporters the information and "photo opportunities" they need.
Fewer reporters regularly cover Congress, which does not maintain as tight a control over news stories as the White House does.
  • Recently, television coverage of the House and Senate has attracted a small but loyal audience.
Media executives, news editors, and prominent reporters function as gatekeepers in presenting the news and deciding which events to report and how to handle their elements.
  • Television in particular operates under severe time limitations, and the average news story lasts about one minute.
Television news devotes far more time to the president than to Congress or the Supreme Court.
  • The media tend to personify issues for the purpose of audience appeal.
The result in covering election campaigns is horse race journalism, which focuses on "who's ahead" rather than on what the candidates stand for.
  • Many news events are staged as media events to attract coverage because of audience appeal.
Television news is particularly partial to news that has visual impact.
  • Since the 1960s, most people report getting most of their news from television. (See Figure 6.4.)
However, people do not remember very much of the political information they see on television.
  • In a 1997 survey, more respondents were able to identify sports figures and television celebrities than were able to identify important politicians and officeholders.
The television hypothesis suggests that television is a prime reason for the public's low level of knowledge of public affairs.
the political effects of the media
  • Influencing Public Opinion
    • Virtually all citizens must rely on the mass media for their political news.
    • Almost nine out of every ten Americans believe that the media strongly influence political institutions and public opinion. (See Compared with What? 6. 1.)
It is difficult to determine the extent of such influence.
  • Research indicates that television news commentary is probably the single greatest influence on public opinion.
Setting the Political Agenda
    • The media play a role in setting the political agenda‑-the issues that get government attention.
    • The media heighten the public's concern about social problems, such as crime.
    • However, the media also distort the incidence of social problems and confuse policymakers and the public alike about what should or can be done.
There is ample evidence that public opinion is influenced by media coverage.
  • Political leaders believe that the media are influential, and they act accordingly.
    • Even through its entertainment programs, television operates as a medium of political socialization.
    • Compared with the early days of radio, however, television programs tend to erode confidence in the criminal justice system.
Although the media promotes popular support for government in celebrating national holidays, they also erode public confidence by publicizing citizen grievances, airing investigative reports of corruption, and covering assorted political critics, protesters, and terrorists.
evaluating the media in government
  • News reporters are said to have a liberal bias in reporting the news, whereas editors and publishers are suspected of having a conservative bias that tones down their reporters' liberalism.
Several studies of voting behavior and ideological self‑placement show that reporters do have a liberal orientation.
  • However, the more pronounced bias of reporters is against politicians, especially front‑runners and incumbents.
The media contribute to majoritarian democracy in the United States in two ways.
  • By being critical of politicians and searching for weaknesses in their public statements, reporters improve the accuracy of communication from government to citizens.
By polling citizens' reactions to political events and governmental actions, the mass media improve communication from citizens to government.
  • The media have played an important role in advancing equality, especially racial equality, in the United States.
Although the media are willing to mobilize government action to infringe on personal freedom for equality's sake, they resist attempts to infringe on freedom of the press to promote public order.
  • Compared with the public, journalists are far more likely to regard freedom of the press as sacrosanct.
On the topic of press freedom, the media operate as an interest group in a pluralist democracy.
  • The media's interest in reporting whatever they wish, whenever they wish, erodes government's efforts to maintain order.
Sensationalist coverage of terrorist activities tends to encourage the activities.
  • Sensationalist coverage of brutal crimes tends to produce "copycat" crimes.
  • News stories about the burning of black churches in 1996 engendered copycat arson.

Ross Perot

Wealthy candidates may buy prime time ad space on TV. Ross Perot (in 1992 and 1996) and Steve Forbes (in 1996) spent their own millions seeking the presidency.

Steve Forbes

the press legal and constitutional issues
The Press: Legal and Constitutional Issues

The Constitution does not allow “prior restraint” of the press, meaning a newspaper cannot be stopped from printing something because it might be libelous. It must be allowed to do so, and then it will be held legally accountable.

However, in 1990, the Supreme Court upheld a government effort to prevent CNN from broadcasting taped conversations between Manuel Noriega, Panama’s deposed dictator, and his lawyer.