Mass media - Kenston Local Schools

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Chapter 6
THE MEDIA
2
The Future of the Media
 The printed daily newspaper as we know
it in decline
 More and more people access news and
information via the Internet
 Important questions:
 Is democratic accountability threatened by
the loss of newspapers?
 Is web-based journalism democratizing?
3
People, Government, and
Communications
 Mass communication transmits
information to large audiences
 Mass media do the communicating
 Print media
 Broadcast media
 Media has important role
 Information from government to citizens
 Information from citizens to government
4
The Development of Mass Media
in the United States
 Print and broadcast media primary
means to convey political messages
 Newspapers
 Radio
 Television
 Internet
 And sometimes, music and film
5
Newspapers
 First U.S. newspapers not really mass
media
 Number of newspapers published has
declined over time
 Most cities and towns have only one
traditional daily newspaper
6
Figure 6.2
Audiences of Selected Media Sources
7
Magazines
 More specialized news than daily
newspapers
 Can influence attentive policy elites
 Two-step flow of information then
influences mass opinion
 However, circulation also has declined
8
Radio
 Regular radio broadcasting began as
local broadcasts in 1920
 Coast-to-coast broadcasts first heard in
1937
 More than 13,000 licensed stations today
 Audiences continue to grow
 News and talk radio popular
9
Television
 First major broadcasts in 1940; color and
coast-to-coast broadcasts in 1951
 In 2009, U.S. had over 1,300 commercial
and 300 public television stations
 Around 99 percent of homes have TV
 TV has biggest news audience after
Internet
10
Television
11
The Internet
 Began in 1969 as connection between
four universities (ARPANET)
 Later networks linked in 1983, creating
Internet
 Used mainly for e-mail among researchers
 World Wide Web (WWW) created in 1991
by European physicists
 Over 70 percent of Americans use
Internet
12
The Internet
 Majority of government agencies and
political organizations have websites
 Private citizens operate websites and
blogs on politics and public affairs
 Rapid way to transmit information and
mobilize public opinion
 Major stories starting to originate on blogs;
many authors consider selves journalists
13
Compared With What?
14
Private Ownership of the Media
 In U.S., private ownership of media
taken for granted
 China has Internet police to prevent
“subversive content”
 In some countries, print media privately
owned but broadcast media run by
government
 U.S. has only about 300 public TV
stations and 400 public radio stations
15
Private Ownership of the Media
16
The Consequences of
Private Ownership
 Private media ownership means more
political freedom, but also dependence
on advertising revenues
 When looking at overall coverage, media
functions more for entertainment than
news
 Criteria for newsworthiness is audience
appeal
17
Figure 6.3
Getting the News: Consider the Source
18
Market-Driven Journalism
Larger audiences earn higher advertising
rates
 Outside agency determines market share of
shows for broadcast media
 So, news broadcasts and commercials are
targeted for viewing audiences, both
national and local
 Major news organizations like CBS, ABC, and
NBC are part of larger corporations

 Must make a profit
19
The Concentration of
Private Ownership
 Media owners increase profit by
increasing audiences or purchasing other
publications or stations
 Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation owns
Fox, the Wall Street Journal, and MySpace
 Some analysts concerned about control
of news by only a few owners
 Propose non-profit newspapers
20
Government Regulation of Media
 Although privately owned, mass media
regulated by government
 Broadcast media more regulated than
print media
 Technical regulations
 Ownership regulations
 Content regulations
21
Technical and
Ownership Regulations


Federal Radio Act (1927) first licensed radio
stations to impose order on frequency
allocation process
Federal Communications Act of 1934
established Federal Communications
Commission (FCC)
 An independent regulatory commission
 Today regulates radio, TV, telephone, telegraph,
cable, and satellite
 Telecommunications Act of 1996 eliminated many
rules and regulations
22
Politics of Global Change
23
Regulation of Content
The First Amendment prohibits Congress
from abridging freedom of the press
 Federal courts have decided many cases
defining how far freedom of the press
extends in various areas

 Most news allowed, except for strategic
information during wartime

FCC initially designed to ensure radio and TV
served the public interest
 Fairness doctrine and equal opportunity rule
24
Regulation of Content
 Fairness doctrine repealed in 1987
 U.S. Court of Appeals struck down rules
regulating political endorsements and
personal attacks in broadcast media
 Print media not subject to restrictions
 Some advocate deregulation of
broadcast media
25
Functions of the Mass Media
for the Political System
 Reporting the news
 Interpreting the news
 Influencing citizens’ opinions
 Setting the agenda for government
action
 Socializing citizens about politics
26
Reporting the News
News media reports on important political
events with journalists on location
 Washington, D.C. has largest press corps
 Media relationships with president
controlled by the Office of the Press
Secretary

 Opportunities include news conferences, press
releases, “background information,” “off the
record” comments, and “photo opportunities”
27
Reporting on Congress
Must be accredited to sit in press galleries
 Most news comes from press releases and
congressional reports

 Sometimes have “leaks” of information

Live coverage of Congress and its
committees not common until House
allowed broadcasts in 1979
 Senate broadcasts started in 1986
 C-SPAN feeds to 90 percent of cable systems
across the country
28
Interpreting and
Presenting the News
 Media executives, news editors, and
reporters function as gatekeepers of
news flow and validity
 Personification makes news more
understandable
 Rise of Internet has made more views
available
 More information available, but no
gatekeepers to check validity of content
29
Media Coverage of Elections
 Personification of political news
encourages horse race journalism
 Most Americans want more coverage of
issues
 Changing poll numbers and “media events”
considered more newsworthy
30
Where the Public Gets Its News
Newspaper most important source until
1960s, then TV
 Today, 65 percent of Americans name TV or
cable news networks as primary news source

 Newspapers 14 percent
 Internet 11 percent

Multiple sources used by many, including
late-night talk shows
31
What People Remember and Know
 Although 80 percent of public access
news media each day, most retain little
 National survey in 2009 found respondents
could only answer five of 12 questions about
current events correctly
 Those who rely on TV retain less than those
who read print media
 Some media researchers believe TV is
behind low level of citizen knowledge
about public affairs
32
Figure 6.5
Gagging on Late-Night TV
33
Influencing Public Opinion
 Difficult to measure extent of media’s
influence on public opinion
 Does the media create public opinion by
its reporting of events?
 Studies on specific areas, such as pretrial
coverage of serious criminal cases, show
significant influence
34
Setting the Political Agenda
 Most scholars see media’s greatest
influence in its ability to identify issues
needing government attention
 Media can force government to address
unpopular or unknown issues
 Some issues, such as crime,
disproportionately covered
 Public also influences media coverage
35
Setting the Political Agenda
 Politicians eager to influence media
coverage
 Public opinion
 Opinions of attentive elites
 Presidents sometimes “go public” to
advance a political agenda
36
Setting the Political Agenda
37
Socializing the Citizenry
 Young people politically socialized via
media’s entertainment function
 Media reinforces dominance of existing
culture and order
 Today, messages about government
very different than in past
 Media has contradictory roles in process
of political socialization
38
Evaluating the Media
in Government
 Some believe news filtered through
ideologies of media owners, editors, and
reporters
 Reporters tend to be liberal (32%) rather
than conservative (8%)
 Editors and owners more conservative
 Talk radio dominated by conservatives
39
Figure 6.6
Partisanship and the Credibility of the News
40
Evaluating the Media
in Government
 In general, incumbents receive more
news coverage than challengers
 Political bias in coverage depends on the
party in power
 Media may also be biased in the way
news stories reported
41
Contributions to Democracy
 Most political communications from
government to citizens through media
 News reporters tend to be critical of
politicians, serving watchdog function
 Media polls enable reporting of public
opinion on major issues
 Necessary for majoritarian model of
government
42
Effects on Freedom, Order,
and Equality
 Media has played important role in
advancing equality
 Media coverage of civil rights movement
critical to its success
 However, media resists government
efforts to use it to promote public order
 What is balance between free press and
national security?
43
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