Chapter 7 The Mass Media and the Political Agenda Edwards, Wattenberg, and Lineberry Government in America: People, Politics, and Policy Fourteenth Edition Introduction Mass Media: Television, radio, newspapers, magazines, the Internet and other means of popular communication High-Tech Politics: Politics in which the behavior of citizens and policymakers and the political agenda itself are increasingly shaped by technology The Mass Media Today Effective communication through media is key to political success. Media Events: Events purposely staged for the media that nonetheless look spontaneous. Image Making News Management The Impact of the Internet Wider range of information More biased? Less accurate? Potential to inform? Since Americans are generally disinterested in politics, they will not necessarily use the Internet for political information. (2% News) Blogs additional information / opinion Private Control of the Media Only a small number of TV stations are publicly owned in America. Media are totally dependent on advertising revenues. Chains: Account for over four-fifths of the nation’s daily newspaper circulation Also control broadcast media Reporting the News Beats: specific locations from which news frequently emanates. Trial Balloons: an intentional news leak for the purpose of assessing the political reaction Reporters and their sources… depend on each other. Presenting the News Superficial describes most news coverage today. Sound Bites: short video clips of approximately 10 seconds Major TV networks devote less time to covering political candidates Bias in the News Many people believe the news is biased in favor of one point of view. Generally is not very biased toward a particular ideology News reporting is biased towards what will draw the largest audience—good pictures and negative reporting Partisan Bias Back The News and Public Opinion Television news Agenda-setting effect Provides criteria Which the public evaluates political leaders. Provides coverage Some stories or events can be made more important or less important. The Media’s Agenda-Setting Function Policy Agenda The issues that attract the serious attention of public officials and other people actively involved in politics at the time Policy Entrepreneurs People who get an issue placed high on governmental agenda Use media to raise awareness of issue The Media and the Scope of Government Media as watchdog restricts politicians Government met with skepticism which restricts scope of government If media identifies a problem, it forces government to address it, which expands the scope of government Individualism and the Media Candidates appeal to people on television Easier to focus on one person like the president, than groups, e.g., Congress or the courts Democracy and the Media “Information is the fuel of democracy.” But news provides more entertainment than information; superficial. News is a business, giving people what they want. Summary Media shape public opinion on political issues and influence policy agenda. Broadcast media have replaced print media over time. Narrowcasting and the Internet are further shifting media. Seeking profits, media are biased in favor of stories with high drama. Remy Summary-A Additional Info - THE MASS MEDIA The Fourth Branch of Government - “The Mass Media”? Newspapers 98 % 1 paper cities - 78 % of circulation by chains National weekly magazines (Time,USN, Newsweek) Can set national agenda Wire services (AP, UPI) employ reporters worldwide Used by more newspapers today (cut costs) Electronic Media (Radio, TV, Cable, Internet) The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Regulates broadcast ownership & content Almost all media are privately owned Ownership has become less diversified Remy Summary-B CH 19- THE MASS MEDIA What makes “news” ? Information that is “useful” (gov/econ/bus) Information that is “popular” (entertainment) The President -80 % of nat. gov. media coverage TV has great impact presidential campaigns Focus on key leaders in Congress The First Amendment (Freedom of the Press) No prior restraint National security exceptions National security v citizen’s right to know Pentagon Papers (1971) No laws against criticizing government officials Shield laws in some states (36 states, Ohio = Yes) NON-Edwardian Info ERAS OF THE AMERICAN PRESS PARTY PRESS PARTIES STARTED & SUPPORTED NEWSPAPERS POPULAR PRESS MASS CIRCULATION “YELLOW JOURNALISM”, “MUCKRAKERS” MAGAZINES OF OPINION MIDDLE CLASS PROGRESSIVE MOVEMENT ELECTRONIC JOURNALISM RAPID NEWS REPORTING CHANGED THE WAY WE VIEWED POLITICIANS POPULAR PRESS “YELLOW JOURNALISM” TABLOID NEWS SENSATIONALISM Circulation monthly decline WHO READ THE NEWSPAPER YESTERDAY ? WHICH NEWSPAPERS ARE READ EACH DAY WHO READ THE NEWSPAPER YESTERDAY? Where Americans Get News Back News Generation Gap Back Sources of Campaign News Back A FREE PRESS IS RARE IN THE WORLD (17% OF THE NATIONS) GOVERNMENT RESTRAINTS ON THE AMERICAN MEDIA LIBEL, OBSCENITY, INCITEMENT (BUT NO PRIOR RESTRAINT ?) GOV’T CONTROL OVER RADIO AND TV BY THE F.C.C. LICENSING DECENCY STANDARDS GOV’T INFLUENCE ON THE NEWS LEAKS (TRIAL BALLOONS, PERSONAL ATTACKS) BACKGROUND STORIES (INSIDER INFORMATION) PUNITIVE MEASURES THE NATIONAL PRESS IS STAFF BY PEOPLE WHO ARE MORE LIBERAL THAN THE PUBLIC IN GENERAL. (AND MORE KNOWLEDGEABLE) MASS MEDIA MAY NOT REFLECT REALITY OPPORTUNITIES FOR SLANTING THE NEWS 1-SELECTION OF NEWS TO COVER 70% IS PREPLANNED (THOM. DYE) 2-WRITING AND EDITING PROCESS 3-INTERPRETATION OF THE NEWS 4-EMPHASIS OF THE NEWS Media Bias Questions about effects of media bias. Media bias unavoidable--journalists are human. Media generally thought to be liberal. Recent growth of conservative news sources. Looking at good stories over issues. Can be charmed by interesting personalities. Confidence in the Media General confidence is on a downturn. Republicans are more critical than Democrats. Democrats and Republicans use different sources. Ideological fragmentation may be cause for concern. People tend to choose news that supports their opinion. THE INFLUENCE OF THE MEDIA IS QUESTIONABLE SHALLOW INFORMATION “SOUND BITES” SELECTIVE VIEWING WATCH WHAT WE AGREE WITH THE MEDIA DOES INFLUENCE THE POLICY AGENDA ROLES OF THE PRESS *GATEKEEPER DECIDING WHAT IS NEWS *SCOREKEEPER DECIDING WHO IS “WINNING” *WATCHDOG EXPOSING “SCANDLES” LOADED WORDS REPETITION Presidential Press Conferences Back THE MEDIA IMPORTANT TERMS ASSOCIATED PRESS ATTACK JOURNALISM CANNED NEWS COMMUNITY NEEDS EQUAL-TIME RULE FAIRNESS DOCTRINE FEATURE STORIES FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION (FCC) INSIDER STORIES LOADED LANGUAGE MARKET (TELEVISION) MUCKRAKER THE MEDIA IMPORTANT TERMS LOADED LANGUAGE MARKET (TELEVISION) MUCKRAKER OFF THE RECORD ON BACKGROUND RECKLESS DISREGARD RIGHT-OF-REPLY RULE SELECTIVE ATTENTION SOUND BITE TRAIL BALLOON “YELLOW JOURNALISM” THE MEDIA QUESTIONS 1-DOES THE DESIRE OF AMERICAN NEWSPAPERS TO BE “OBJECTIVE” MAKE AMERICANS LESS INFORMED? SHOULD THE UNITED STATES HAVE THE PARTY PRESS LIKE MANY EUROPEAN NATIONS? 2-DOES A POPULAR PRESS PANDER TO THE LOWEST COMMON DENOMINATOR OF INTEREST AND TASTE? 3-EXPLAIN HOW LOCALISM & DECENTRALIZED QUALITIES OF THE AMERICAN NEWS MEDIA CONTRIBUTE TO THE PROMOTION OF DEMOCRACY? 4-IF MOST REPORTERS HOLD LIBERAL VIEWS WHY HASN’T AMERICAN SOCIETY BECOME MORE LIBERAL OVER THE YEARS? AP - THE MEDIA QUESTIONS 5-DEFINE THE WATCHDOG ROLE OF THE PRESS. IS IT GOOD OR BAD FOR DEMOCRACY? 6-WHAT SORT OF ISSUES WOULD YOU EXPECT THE MEDIA TO HAVE THE MOST IMPACT? 7- WHAT LIMITS SHOULD THERE BE ON FREEDOM OF THE PRESS?