Politics and the Media

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Politics and the Media
Raise your hand if you get your news
from the following places at least once
a week …
Newspapers
Radio
Network news (ABC, CBS, NBC)
Cable News (CNN, FOX, MSNBC)
Internet News
Political Satire (The Daily show, Colbert
Report, SNL)
Mass Media in the US.
Newspapers
earliest form of
media.

They were SLOW!
Mass Media in the US
Technology made daily papers available
Media Corporations began to consolidate
power

Struggle between two roles of Journalism
Truth Reporting
Media Business

Yellow Journalism – Sensational style of
reporting characterized newspapers at the
turn of the century. Used to sway political
opinion and sell newspapers.
Media History (Cont)
Telegraph brought about advent of the
“Wire Service”
Companies hired to reporters to cover
stories that were sold to local papers.

AP, Reuters, UPI, Bloomberg
Media History (Cont)
The Emergence of Radio and Television

Politicians’ appearances and mannerisms
more important like events such as the
Kennedy-Nixon presidential debates.
Early networks had monopoly on coverage
and had strict rules on fairness and Equal
Time.
Kennedy /Nixon 1960
Media History
3 Networks – Narrow sources of News

Brought government and politics into
peoples’ homes with events like the Vietnam
War.
Introduction of Cable News and 24 hour
cycle
CNN First Broadcast 1980
Media History (Cont)
Cable News- Dilution of viewership allowed for
“Niche Journalism” or …
Narrowcasting - Media program on cable TV or
Internet that is focused on one topic and aimed
at a particular audience.
24 hour news cycle has led to a desire for more
content … What is news?
News companies need to have viewers to make
money. Tabloid culture driven by ratings.
Ownership of the Media
The media are profit-driven businesses.


News outlets are expected to make a profit,
just like other corporate divisions.
Advertising revenues depend on drawing a
large audience.
Ownership of the Media
All of these
channels are
owned by
one company.
Logos depicted are registered trademarks of their respective owners.
Ownership of the Media
All of these
channels and
papers are
owned by one
company.
Logos depicted are registered trademarks of their respective owners.
Media History (Cont)
1960’s and Watergate Scandal led to a
distrust of the government.
Media saw it’s role as investigator
increase.
Internet led to more diffusion of news
sources.

Internet is purposive – People choose what to
learn about.
Blogs are becoming a populist media
LO 7.2
To Learning Objectives
Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Longman
Sound Bites
Short video clips, not long segments.

Keeps news programs fast-paced and
interesting.
Debates : Political Minefields
Politicians and the media
Media Events/ Photo
Ops (Opportunity)

Scheduled events that
put candidate or
politician in a favorable
position.
Image is carefully
managed and
maintained.
Media’s Role in Democracy
Informer- Provide public with current and
accurate information of what is going on.
Watch Dog- A free media is essential to a
democracy because it checks the power of
Govt. with information.
A Voice- Media allows a conduit for the
voice of the people as well as the
government.
President’s Press Secretary
White house has
dedicated media dept.
led by Press Sec.
Acts as voice of
Administration
Political position
Gaffes
Media Bias (Some Examples)
Card-stacking
Omission
Medium bias
Fairness Bias
Expediency Bias
Narrative Bias
Commercial Bias
Were it left to me to decide whether we
should have a government without
newspapers, or newspapers without a
government, I should not hesitate a
moment to prefer the latter.
Thomas Jefferson
Edwards, Wattenberg, and Lineberry
Government in America: People, Politics, and Policy
Fourteenth Edition
Case Study:
“I Have a Scream”:
Howard Dean and the
Media
Special Topic Lecture
Chapter 7: The Mass Media and
the Political Agenda
Dean’s Scream
After the Iowa Caucus in 2004, Dean makes
his “I Have a Scream” speech.
Dean’s campaign collapsed after extensive
(633 national airings in four days) media
coverage of the scream.
The problem: what brought about the
media’s feeding frenzy?
Dean Scream
Reporters and Bias
Liberal Media?

Most journalists want to be first and
foremost good journalists.
Professional ethics: good journalism must “tell
both sides” and be free of opinion.
Role of journalism is to inform the public.
Dean was the most liberal mainstream
candidate.

Why would the “liberal” media attack a
liberal candidate?
Reporters and Bias
What does being a journalist means to
journalists?
Horse Race Coverage
Focus on strategy and competition, not issues.

Exciting to political junkies who watch the news.
See figure 9.1 in
the Brief Edition.
Dean’s Scream
Dean’s scream made good television.



The media shows stories that people will
watch.
People like to see politicians look like fools.
The media took advantage because it would
increase ratings and thereby increase
advertising revenue.
American Media and Democracy
Is the media the “watchdog of
democracy”?


News provides more entertainment than
information.
The media gives the people what they want,
not what is good for them.
. . . a problem inherent in democracy, generally.
Herman Cain –The Daily Show
Mission Accomplished
Rick Perry’s New Hampshire
Biden
Jon Stewart and Fox
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