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FDR’s first Inaugural address. Chapter 9 political communication.

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inaugural address

Roosevelt’s campaign: he campaigned against the policies of Hoover, but said as little as possible about what he would do. Roosevelt actually expanded dramatically on the policies that Hoover had implemented in his last year in office. Why? They appeared to be working.

Inaugural address
slide3

Starts with historic phrase that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” But what is this fear?

  • Enumerates the problems:
    • Values have shrunken to fantastic levels (real estate and stock market crashes),
    • government of all kinds is faced by serious curtailment of income (state and local government revenues are decreasing, creating budget shortfalls),
    • the means of exchange are frozen in the currents of trade (loans are not available)
  • The withered leaves of industrial enterprise lie on every side (manufacturing has disappeared)
  • Farmers find no markets for their produce (there is plenty of food, but few with the money to buy it – think food banks)
  • The savings of many years in thousands of families are gone (trillions of dollars lost in market crashes in real estate and other markets)
slide4

Addressing the issue of just needing to restore confidence. “Only a foolish optimist can deny the dark realities of the moment.”

Is FDR addressing fear as a lack of consumer/business confidence?

“Small wonder that confidence languishes, for it thrives only on honesty, on honor, on the sacredness of obligations, on faithful protection, on unselfish performance; without them it cannot live.”

what is he calling for

Redistribution of land sounds significantly similar to land reform that has marked the transition from feudal to capitalist societies.

Raise values of agricultural products – farm subsidies

Stop foreclosures

Reduce spending at all levels of government austerity in administration.

What is he calling for?
slide6

A more centralized effort at relief

Nationalization of transportation, communications, and utilities.

“there must be a strict supervision of all banking and credit and investments; there must be an end to speculation with other people’s money, and there must be provision for an adequate but sound currency.”

“income balance outgo” – balancing the budget

slide7

Meet financial obligations of debt, but foreign trade takes a back seat to “the establishment of a sound national economy.”

Declares a hope that the existing government institutions will result in the changes he describes, but is asking for tolerance of broad presidential powers to get these things done. Requesting war powers.

Fear that he spoke of may be fear of government intervention in the market and government as tyranny.

political communication or marketing

“truth claims” Someone makes the statement that the Obama administration is spending $2 billion on a ten day trip to India. Others report “they are saying this trip costs taxpayers $2 billion.” While it is true that “they” are saying it, it is not true that it is costing $2 billion.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZ1nqflHI6Q

Political communication or marketing?
politics and the mass media

It is generally agreed that media reinforces political opinion but rarely converts anyone.

    • Self-selection, deflect or deny
    • This does not take into consideration the repetition of facts or ideas.
    • Some suggestion from the book that ideas from mass media are likely reinforced through other communications. What if the individual is not communicating with others? Will they be more likely to accept the media version of reality?
Politics and the mass media
vietnam war

Walter Cronkite provided a negative report on the progress of the war.

  • “If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost middle America”
    • Not sure if he said it, but he did withdraw from the campaign shortly after.
    • Cronkite was trusted, news programming was more like the face-to-face communications.
Vietnam war
decrease in political interest

Fewer watching and reading news (more entertainment/information options)

Less “news” in the news. Entertainment, sports, local crime

Difficulty in identifying sources of information vs. sources of misinformation

Decrease in political interest
media monopoly

1910 most cities had two or more competing papers.

Today, few US cities have more then one paper.

IE the Seattle Post-Intelligencer printed its last copy March 17,2009.

However has continued with an online version, not necessarily a bad thing.

Media monopoly
media corporations

“Some 20 corporations control most of what Americans read, hear, and view”

“The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is supposed to guard against oligopoly but in recent years has seen no problem with bigness and fewness.” Suggestion of regulatory capture by special interests.

Media corporations
producing the news

Large upfront cost, minimal additional costs.

Example: a news show or long-term investigative report has initial upfront costs that are high, paying for investigative efforts or resources. Each additional use is pennies.

Local news is cheap to produce. Costly to keep a journalist in Washington with connections.

Fewer journalists in Washington, fewer journalists paying attention and keeping an eye on government.

Fewer “beat journalists”. When an issue crops up within a policy area, reporters must rely on experts, usually from the government, without the knowledge base to know if the information is accurate.

Producing the news
elite media

Named because it is read by the “elite”.

Includes conservative and liberal papers/magazines. Considered to be legitimate news sources

Elite media
web media

Pros:

    • with media outlets providing fewer in depth reports, bloggers can pick up the slack.
    • The Internet also will frequently catch news items the media misses or gets the reporting wrong on. IE Dan Rather reporting on George Bush’s service record – bloggers identified where the document was clearly a forgery.
    • Web can help overthrow undemocratic regimes as in Egypt, Tunisia, and maybe Libya and Syria.
    • Opens up debate to voices not previously heard
Web media
web media1

Cons: Often the opposite of the pros

    • Competes with newspapers, free, little cost to produce. It becomes difficult to finance the reporter on the beat or in depth reporting.
    • More immediate news production encourages media outlets to report before necessarily confirming stories to the degree we had seen previously. The rush to print makes errors more likely.
    • Web can lead to conspiracy theories, a polarization of the population, mistrust of government, and undermine democracy.
    • Opens up debate to those who may be unknowledgeable or even insane.
Web media
television and presidential politics

Both blame and credit for President is overemphasized.

Nomination by television: A good showing in early primaries and the press depicting as a frontrunner increases donors through the bandwagon effect.

Candidate who photographs well and works the medium can become President with a minimum of political experience.

Television and presidential politics

?

television and apathy

Reduction of social cohesion as we stay home instead of socializing (Putnam in Italy)

More polarization as we watch different sources of information than our neighbors.

Long campaigns – voters lose interest or can’t tell the difference between the candidates (if they avoid talking about the issues)

Negative campaigning disgusts voters. Reduces turnout with Democratic voters more than Republican voters.

Television and apathy
slide21

“equal time” and “fairness doctrine” – abolished during the Reagan administration.

This is an example of administrative law and how an agency can, effectively, change the nature of how our laws are implemented or enforced.

This allowed for news outlets to become more polarized, thereby encouraging the polarization of the electorate.

FCC
news as entertainment

President more interesting, more than half the news time.

“Accordingly, Americans grow up with the notion that the White House does most of the work and has most of the power, whereas Congress and the courts hardly matter.”

Largely ignores federal agencies and states. Lack of interest and lack of money.

Outside of state capitals there is little news about state politics. Easier to influence without the press policing.

Little interest, and therefore little coverage of international news

News as entertainment
framing

Political elites present an initial frame. While reporters get up to speed on the topic they initially support the frame provided. It is not until they have become more informed that they are able to challenge the initial frame. This is why it is important to have a “beat” reporter knowledgeable about the issue, to challenge the government frame if it does not pass the sniff test.

Framing
slide24

Nothing can be done about the public’s lack of interest.

All that you can do is make sure you are getting your information from the best possible sources – the book says the elite media, I would add that you should take advantage of your current access to journals as well.

growth of the adversarial nature

Johnson/Cronkite and the Vietnam War

Nixon, secret bombings of Cambodia, Pentagon Papers, Watergate, secretive and reportedly paranoid.

(note: One of Hillary Clinton’s first jobs out of law school was working on the House Watergate investigation)

Growth of the adversarial nature
adversarial in decline

“Equal time” and “fairness doctrine” no longer recognized.

Fewer beat reporters and in depth reporting makes reporters more dependent on official sources.

With multiple (and politicized) media outlets, politicians can pick and choose which media to talk to. 2010 election a number of challengers refused to speak to reporters that might ask difficult questions.

With politicians speaking only to favored media, reporters hold the tough questions to retain access.

4 of 5 potential Republican candidates had contracts with FOX news.

Adversarial in decline
war coverage

Vietnam War, initially accepted official accounts, but came to be known as the “five o’clock follies”.

Reporters went out and got their own stories, it turned the public against the war.

Invasion of Grenada, reporters kept out, used media pools taken to what they wanted them to see.

First Gulf War, media pools limited to Kuwait City, access rationed, reports censored, daily briefings were a multimedia presentation

Iraq War, embedded journalists with strict restriction on the content of their reports.

War coverage