American Government and Politics Today

The Media
Learning Objectives
 Identify the major functions performed
by the mass media in our society,
including entertainment, reporting
news, identifying public problems,
socializing new generations, and
providing a political forum.
Learning Objectives
Trace the historical development of the press from
the colonial period to modern electronic media:
A partisan press.
Development of mass-readership newspapers.
The popular press and yellow journalism.
The advent of radio and TV.
The appearance of cable TV and the Internet.
Learning Objectives
 Discuss campaign advertising, “spin” and the
presidential debates.
Describe the relationship between the First
Amendment protection of freedom of the press and
government’s regulation of the media.
Explain the media’s impact on politics, both on
electoral politics and the investigative reporting of
the government.
Explain the ways that “new media” have influenced
the functions performed by media.
Evaluate different forms of alleged bias in the media.
The Media’s Functions
 Entertainment
 Reporting the News
 Identifying Public Problems
 Socializing a New Generation
 Providing a Political Forum
 Making Profits
A History of the Media in the United States
 The rise of the political press
 Development of mass-readership
 The popular press and yellow journalism
 The age of the electromagnetic signal
A History of the Media in the United States
 The Revolution in Electronic Media
 Cable
 Talk show politics and Internet broadcasting
 The Internet, blogging, and podcasting
The Primacy of Television
 Increase in News-Type Programming
 TV’s Influence on the Political Process
The Media and Political Campaigns
 Advertising
 Management of News Coverage
 Presidential Debates
 Political Campaigns and the Internet
The Media and the Government
Media and the Presidency:
 Setting the Public Agenda
 Investigative Reporting
Government Regulation of the Media
Government regulates the controlling ownership
of the media.
Government Regulation of the Media
Control of Content:
 Control of media broadcasting
 Control of media during 2nd Gulf War
 Control of media during war on terrorism
Bias in the Media
 Studies show that many in the media favor the
political left.
 Media has been accused of racial profiling.
 Media is biased in its self-interest: ratings and
making money.
Web Links
 Slate: publication offering analysis about
politics, news, and culture:
 MediaChannel: provides information and
diverse perspectives, and includes links to
news media around the world, as well as
alternative media:
 The Pew Research Center for the People & the
Press: offers up-to-date research on the public
and its use of the media:
What If…The Media Had to Reveal All Their
Many reporters’ sources are willing to talk on
condition that they remain anonymous.
If news sources were not protected:
 Reporters would lose sources of information.
 Public officials might become more corrupt.
 Lawsuits may increase.
You Can Make a Difference: Being a Critical
Consumer of the News
 Few Americans take the time to become critical
consumers of the news.
 To guarantee that your beliefs are truly your
own and that they represent your values, you
need to obtain accurate information from the
media and avoid being swayed by subliminal
appeals, loaded terms, or outright bias.
You Can Make a Difference: Being a Critical
Consumer of the News
Sources of news:
 Blogs
 Consider reading the news rather than
watching it on TV.
You Can Make a Difference: Being a Critical
Consumer of the News
For more information on the media:
 National Association of Broadcasters:
 Accuracy in Media (conservative group):
 People for the American Way (a liberal group):