Interest Groups and the Mass Media

Interest Groups
and the Mass
Interest Groups
Interest groups are private organizations that try to
persuade public officials to respond to the shared
attitudes of their members
Interest groups have been viewed with suspicion
James Madison warned against the dangers of
“factions” in Federalist # 10
Interest groups raise awareness in public affairs
and allow members to achieve a common goal
Represent their members
Provide information to government
Types of Interest Groups
Economic Interest Groups – business groups,
trade associations, labor groups, agricultural
groups, professional groups
Groups that promote causes – ACLU, National
Right to Life Committee, National Rifle
Association, Sierra Club
Groups that promote the welfare of certain
groups – AARP, NAACP, Christian Coalition
Public Interest Groups – League of Women
Voters, Common Cause, MADD
Techniques of Interest Groups
 Influencing
public opinion
 Propaganda
 Lobbying
 Influencing elections – campaigning and
contributing money through PACs
 Litigation
The Media
 Print
– magazines, newspapers; early
newspapers were often financed by
political groups
 Electronic
– cable, satellite, network
(“free”), radio, internet
 Mass
Media v. Group Media
Roles of the Media
 Reporting
the news
 Interpreting the news
 Influencing public opinion
 Setting the political agenda
 Socialization
 Providing a link between citizens and
Who Controls the Media?
 Media
is driven by the “profit motive” and
audience ratings
 Protected by the First Amendment
 Networks are owned by large
 News departments can be affected by
who owns the media
Use of the Media
Use of the media by the President in news
conferences and speeches
Photo Opportunities
Spin doctors and talking heads
Free media coverage for making news
Use of “leaks”
Love/Hate relationship between the press
and politicians
White House press corps, press conferences
Media Influence
 News
filtering (accidental and
intentional): time slots, lead stories, story
 Media
as Gatekeeper, Scorekeeper,
Print Media
 Usually
owned by conservatives
 Has less and less affect – more than 50%
of the population gets 100% of their news
from TV; internet based news continues to
grow in influence
 Had an anti-middle class bias because of
the higher education of the reporters
 Reporters are usually personally liberal,
but try to be neutral in their reporting
TV News
 Cuts
across age groups, social groups,
economic groups
 Captive audiences
 Vivid, emotion, dramatic
 Has contributed to distrust of all institutions
including the media itself through
investigative reports
 C-Span
 Political Satire
Rules Governing the Media
 The
Federal Communications Commission
was established in 1934
 Rules relating to ownership, equal access
air time, libel, slander
 First Amendment protects freedom of the
 The Telecommunications Act of 1996
deregulated the media
 “self” censorship