Mass Media Media is sometimes referred to as the 4th branch of the government because it is supposed to speak the truth and keep our democracy on track However, some people believe that the media is not doing it’s job because it ignores anything that could upset “the establishment” such as scandals, assassination of key officials, and covert military operations • Which position do you take? Why? • Remember: media focus determines what the public thinks about
Basic Vocabulary Media Events - events that are staged by a political candidate primarily for the purpose of being covered—are often scripted and limited in what they will report. Sound Bites - 30 second sound clips used on TV to convey the message of an entire speech. • Horse-Race Coverage – This is the way that during the Presidential primary/caucus season that the media focuses on who is winning and who is losing rather than stressing the candidate’s views on the issues. • Advertising – Candidates rely heavily on media advertising in order to persuade the public for their vote. The amount of money spend on advertising in the 2012 presidential election exceeded $7,000,000,000 which was a record.
Mass Media • -Media is a KEY LINKAGE INSTITUTION between the people and policymakers • Brings political information to the public on a daily basis -Television, radio, magazines, books, Internet, etc. • Media has a profound effect on public policy because most people rely on the information from the media to make their choices in an election • So, if the media • chooses not to cover • something, then most • people will never get • that information
Sources of media Print media • -Newspapers -Magazines Broadcast Media -Television -Radio (Public Broadcast System & Talk Radio) Internet (New Media) -Blogs & Podcasts -Social Media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram)
Answer the following questions using the graph above • What media source was popular during the founding of the U.S.? • What media sources are the most popular today? • Why do you think print media is in demise?
Role of a Free Press in a Democracy Three essential roles: 1. Serves as a “watchdog” over government 2. Sets the public agenda 3. Supports the free exchange of ideas, information, and opinions
Watchdog Function • - Watches the government and makes sure that the government is serving the public’s interest and conveys their findings back to the people
Sets the public agenda • Most people rely on the media for all or most of their information regarding politics • Whatever the media chooses to talk about is the information that people receive (Agenda Setting) • If the media chooses not to talk about it, then people are generally uninformed about the issue (Agenda Cutting) • If people are uninformed about the issue then it willnot be a priority in the legislative arena
Supports Free Exchange Of Ideas & Opinions • Freedom of the press is essential in a democracy in order to share ideas about how the government should operate and what agenda the government should pursue. • “A press that is free to investigate and criticize the government is absolutely essential in a nation that practices self-government and is therefore dependent on an educated and enlightened citizenry.” –Thomas Jefferson
Politicians Influence the Media • Staging -Press invited (i.e. press conference) -Allows the candidate to control what is said • Spinning -Granting interviews either “on-the-record” or “off-the-record” -Allows candidate to persuade the public to perceive the issue in a certain way which helps the candidate • Leaking -An unofficial release of confidential information to the media. (Why? Expose corruption, stir up support, spin the way an event is covered or gain favor with reporters)
Media Bias • Many Americans believe the media has a conservative or liberal bias -Nevertheless, a majority of professional journalists strive to be fair and unbiased in their reporting • Media bias may be . . . -a reflection of how news organizations work as a business -the result of choices made about stories to cover, to attract, and hold viewers (impact, conflict, novelty and familiarity) -the result of a reporter trying to make a name for themselves -media owners or editors with a political ideology and strategy
Understanding the Mass Media • -Rise of “information society” has not brought about an “informed society” as media is superficial about important policy issues. • John Stewart on CNN Crossfire • End Video at 6:04
Class Discussion: Do you agree with John Stewart that the media is not doing their job, or do you believe that the media is doing a good job of informing the public about political events that affect them. Why do you feel this way? • What are the benefits and drawbacks to the increasing influence of mass media?
References • Information Provided By: • George C. Edwards, Robert L. Lineberry, & Martin P. Wattenberg. Government in America: People, Politics, and Policy. New York: Longman, 2014. • Images Provided By: • www.helpfreetheearth.com • https://behind2ndlook.wordpress.com/ • https://tbugir.wordpress.com • http://www.zapiro.com • http://mediatenor.co.za/ • John Stewart Video: • https://www.youtube.com/