Media and politics
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MEDIA AND POLITICS. “Do you Folks know the difference between a horse race and a political campaign? In a horse race, the whole horse runs. “ Senator Alan Simpson (R-WY). Media and Politics:. 1. increasingly intrusive and disruptive 2. hastening or even precipitating demise of parties

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MEDIA AND POLITICS

“Do you Folks know the difference between a horse race and a political campaign? In a horse race, the whole horse runs. “ Senator Alan Simpson (R-WY)


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Media and Politics:

  • 1. increasingly intrusive and disruptive

  • 2. hastening or even precipitating demise of parties

  • 3. dramatizing the campaign as a game or horserace

  • 4. celebrating pseudo-events as reality


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What counts as News

  • Thomas E. Patterson argues the guiding metaphor for hard news is that of a game.

  • Why is the “horserace” the primary focus

    • 1] News is entertainment, games heighten interest

    • 2] provides aura of objectivity, “reflect” public opinion

  • Vast majority of stories are strategy, who is ahead, tactics, mini-scandals


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News stories were placed in the game category if they were framed within the context of strategy and electoral success. Stories were placed in the policy category if framed within the context of policy and leadership problems and issues. Stories based on other schemas (e.g., human interest) accounted for about 15% of election coverage. Thomas Patterson, Out of Order, 1994


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1992 Election Topics in TV News framed within the context of strategy and electoral success. Stories were placed in the policy category if framed within the context of policy and leadership problems and issues. Stories based on other schemas (e.g., human interest) accounted for about 15% of election coverage. Thomas Patterson,


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MEDIA INFLUENCE? framed within the context of strategy and electoral success. Stories were placed in the policy category if framed within the context of policy and leadership problems and issues. Stories based on other schemas (e.g., human interest) accounted for about 15% of election coverage. Thomas Patterson,

  • How much influence does the media have?

    • Some say almost none

    • Winnowing effects

  • Pack Journalism -Herd mentality

  • Agenda Setting - prioritization of issues can influence the importance assigned

  • Spiral of Silence - predictions and reporting of trends in public opinion creates them

    • strong Status Quo bias


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The Bad News Syndrome framed within the context of strategy and electoral success. Stories were placed in the policy category if framed within the context of policy and leadership problems and issues. Stories based on other schemas (e.g., human interest) accounted for about 15% of election coverage. Thomas Patterson,

  • News coverage of incumbents and challengers alike is dominated by negative stories.

  • The expected winner, winning in not news

  • The presentation of policy positions are only news once

  • Television is visual and not verbal, so candidates are seen not heard

  • Try to compensate with sound bites: “Where’s the beef?” “Read my lips--No new taxes.”


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Negative News Stories - 1992 framed within the context of strategy and electoral success. Stories were placed in the policy category if framed within the context of policy and leadership problems and issues. Stories based on other schemas (e.g., human interest) accounted for about 15% of election coverage. Thomas Patterson,


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  • Bush’s 1988 Media Advisor, Roger Ailes framed within the context of strategy and electoral success. Stories were placed in the policy category if framed within the context of policy and leadership problems and issues. Stories based on other schemas (e.g., human interest) accounted for about 15% of election coverage. Thomas Patterson, comments:

  • “Let’s face it, there are three things that the media are interested in: pictures, mistakes, and attacks. That’s the one sure way of getting coverage. You try to avoid as many mistakes as you can. You try to give them as many pictures as you can. And if you need coverage, you attack and you will get coverage.

  • It’s my orchestra theory of politics. If you have two guys on the stage and one says, “I have a solution to the Middle East problem.” and the other guy falls in the orchestra pit, who do you think is going to be on the evening news?”


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Candidates on the Evening News framed within the context of strategy and electoral success. Stories were placed in the policy category if framed within the context of policy and leadership problems and issues. Stories based on other schemas (e.g., human interest) accounted for about 15% of election coverage. Thomas Patterson,

  • In primary coverage in state races candidate’s speech are almost never heard. Only newspersons’ voice-overs

  • In 1992, candidates accounted for only 12% of airtime, reporters 71%


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Based on the length in number of lines of continuous quotes or paraphrases of candidate statements in news storiesPatterson, 1994, Out of Order


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Election stories were placed in the interpretive category if they mainly told “why,” and in the descriptive category if they mainly told “what.”


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Newspapers cover candidate with negative references they mainly told “why,” and in the descriptive category if they mainly told “what.”


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Maturing Internet News Audience – Broader Than Deep they mainly told “why,” and in the descriptive category if they mainly told “what.”ONLINE PAPERS MODESTLY BOOST NEWSPAPER READERSHIP2006 PEW RESEARCH CENTER FOR THE PEOPLE & THE PRESS

  • The Changing News Landscape

    • 1993 1996 2000 2002 2004 2006

  • Regularly watch... % % % % % %

  • Local TV news 77 65 56 57 59 54

  • Cable TV news – – – 33 38 34

  • Nightly news 60 42 30 32 34 28

  • Morning news – – 20 22 22 23

  • Listened/read yesterday...

  • Radio 47* 44 43 41 40 36

  • Newspaper 58* 50 47 41 42 40

  • Online news three

  • or more days per week 2^ 23 25 29 31

  • * From 1994 ^ From 1995

  • Newspaper Websites

    %

    Read Newspaper Yesterday* 40

    Print only 34

    Both print and web 4

    Web only 2

    Additional web readers** 3

    43

    * “Did you get a chance to read a daily

    newspaper yesterday, or not?”

    ** Online news users asked if they “read

    anything on a newspaper’s website.”


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    Public Use of Media they mainly told “why,” and in the descriptive category if they mainly told “what.”


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    Princeton Survey Research Associates among a nationwide sample of 1,506 adults, 18 years of age or older, during the period December 19, 2003 - January 4, 2004. Based on the total sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling and other random effects is plus or minus 3 percentage points.


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