American Government and Politics Today Chapter 10 The Media and Cyberpolitics
The Media’s Functions • Entertainment • Reporting the news • Identifying public problems • Setting the public agenda • The investigative function • Socializing new generations • Providing a political forum • Making profits
History of the Media in the U.S. • The rise of the political press • Development of mass-readership newspapers • The popular press and yellow journalism • The age of the electromagnetic signal • The revolution of electronic media • Cable TV • Narrowcasting • Talk show politics and Internet broadcasting • The Internet, blogging and podcasting
The Primacy of Television Currently the most influential type of media is television. In 1963, the major networks devoted only eleven minutes a day to national news (a 15-minute show minus ad time). Today that is up to about three hours. Many all-news channels are also available.
The Primacy of Television (cont.) • Television’s Influence on the Political Process. • Viewers can actually see news and history as it is happening.
The Media and Political Campaigns • Voters now receive most information from the electronic media, especially television. There are three types of television coverage employed by a campaign: • Advertising • Management of News Coverage • Planning political events to accommodate the press • Developing a good working relationship with reporters. • Convincing the media to put the right “spin” or interpretation on a story. • Political Debates
The Media and Political Campaigns (cont.) • Political Campaigns and the Internet • In recent campaigns, the Internet has played an increasingly prominent role, as candidates use Web sites to convey their messages as well as solicit contributions. The Internet also has been a useful tool for voters, with one study reporting that one-fifth of voters had used the Internet to obtain information about elections.
The Media and Political Campaigns (cont.) • The Media’s Impact on the Voters • A limitation on the media’s impact is that many viewers pay selective attention and mostly notice coverage that confirms their own beliefs. The media’s focus on the “horse-race” aspects of the contest limits coverage of the issues.
The Media and the Government • By focusing attention on controversial actions, the media can sometimes pressure the government into changing course. • The media and the president • Setting the public agenda
Government Regulation of the Media • The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has far more control over the broadcast media than it does over print. • Controlling ownership of the media • Media conglomerates • Reevaluating the rules • Government Control of Content • Control of broadcasting • The Second Gulf War and “embedded reporters” • The Public’s Right to Media Access
Bias in the Media • Do the Media Have a Partisan Bias? • A Commercial Bias?
Questions for Critical Thinking • How has the role of media evolved in recent times? What topics are more likely to receive national news coverage? Why is this so? • Why are First Amendment protections so important? Do you support any limitations on First Amendment protections? What about television or radio shows that incite violence or demonstrate hate? Should these shows be limited? Who should get to decide what is acceptable? Why is this important?