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Chapter 15 The Media Pearson Education, Inc. © 2006 American Government 2006 Edition (to accompany Comprehensive, Alternate, Texas, and Essentials Editions) OConnor and Sabato
Pearson Education, Inc. © 2006 The Evolution of Journalism in the United States First newspapers published in the American colonies in Free press is a necessary component of democratic society. Informs the public Provides information they need to choose their leaders and influence public policy Washington despised the press Partisan press gave way to penny press Penny press focus on scandal Cleveland v. Blaine scandals in the election 1884
Pearson Education, Inc. © 2006 The Evolution of Journalism in the United States Yellow journalism Form of newspaper publishing in vogue in the late-nineteenth century that featured pictures, comics, color, and sensationalized, oversimplified news coverage Hearst and Pulitzer Muckrakers Form of journalism, in vogue in the early 20 th century, concerned with reforming government and business conduct
Pearson Education, Inc. © 2006 Landmarks of the American Media
Pearson Education, Inc. © 2006 The U.S. Media Today Print media: traditional form of mass media, comprising newspapers, magazines, and journals. Electronic media: the broadcast and cable media, including television, radio, and the Internet.
Pearson Education, Inc. © 2006 Distribution of News Source Usage by Individuals
Pearson Education, Inc. © 2006 Main Source of Campaign News by Party
Pearson Education, Inc. © 2006 The Internet In 2000, 9 percent of Americans claimed to receive news from the Internet. Today, 13 percent claim to. Major networks and newspapers also offer their news online. U.S. government provides its own news online. News available from foreign sources as well.
Pearson Education, Inc. © 2006 National Influence of the Media Only a handful of media outlets are influential nationally. New York Times Wall Street Journal USA Today Christian Science Monitor Washington Post Los Angeles Times They have reach through their own circulation, but also influence what the five major national networks and cable news organizations decide to focus on. Wire services also nationalize the news News magazines also supplement these other sources. Time, Newsweek, U.S. News and World Report
Pearson Education, Inc. © 2006 How the Media Cover Politicians And Government Communication between elected officials and public figures and media Press release: document offering an official comment or position. Press briefing: relatively restricted session between a press secretary or aide and the press. Press conference: an unrestricted session between an elected official and the press. On background: information provided to a journalist that will not be attributed to a named source. Deep background: information provided to a journalist that will not be attributed to any source. Off the record: information provided to a journalist that will not be released to the public. On the record: information provided to a journalism that can be released and attributed by name to the source.
Pearson Education, Inc. © 2006 Covering the Presidency President is the focus of the most media coverage. Can summon the press at will FDR was the first to use the press conference as a means to shape public opinion and explain his actions. Press Secretary: existed since Hoovers administration. Presidents main disseminator of information to the press President gets the most coverage, but much of it is negative G.W. Bush record low number of press conferences Strategy to control his image
Pearson Education, Inc. © 2006 Presidential Press Conferences
Pearson Education, Inc. © 2006 Covering Congress Size of Congress and its decentralized nature make it difficult for the media to cover it. Solve this problem by Giving leaders most attention Key committee chairs command center stage Local newspapers and broadcast stations normally devote some resources to covering their own representatives Coverage tends to be negative. Focus on conflict May be part of the reason people view Congress so negatively Investigative hearings may be televised. Joseph McCarthy Enron and Worldcom
Pearson Education, Inc. © 2006 Media Coverage of Local Elections Few independent sources cover local contests Two or three minute story But when they do they can have a great deal of influence Endorsements from newspapers can matter
Pearson Education, Inc. © 2006 Investigative Journalism and the Character Issue Here reporters go beyond headlines and scrutinize public officials and public policy in order to find wrongdoing. Watergate Woodward and Bernstein New York Times Co. v. Sullivan (1964)
Pearson Education, Inc. © 2006 Media Bias 1980s and 1990s argument that media were liberally biased because of the sheer number of journalists who leaned to the left. Another argument focuses on corporate interests and the influence on what is covered. Recent media bias is intentional and a response to increasing fragmentation and competition among media. Mainstream media losing market share while online, ethnic, and alternative media are growing. Market position CNN: 27 percent of Democrats; 20 percent of Republicans Fox News: 29 percent of Republicans; 14 percent of Democrats Ideological fragmentation is viewed as a negative trend by those who believe that the mass media are essential to providing the facts to educate the public about policies.
Pearson Education, Inc. © 2006 The Medias Influence on the Public Media effects The influence of news sources on public opinion Reporting can sway people who are uncommitted and have no strong opinions. Media have a much greater impact on topics far removed from the lives and experiences of readers and viewers. News organizations can help tell us what to think about, even if they cannot determine what we think. Medias power to shape citizens perceptions can influence a politicians success. Election Night 2000 Increasing use of experts Group media and narrowcasting
Pearson Education, Inc. © 2006 The News Generation Gap
Pearson Education, Inc. © 2006 The Publics Perception of the Media Public opinion of media is relatively critical. Perceive media to be Politically biased Roadblocks to solving problems Inaccurate in their reporting Unwilling to admit mistakes Most still view the national news media as credible Terrorist attacks shifted public opinion positively for a period Value the watchdog role of the news media
Pearson Education, Inc. © 2006 Top Problems Facing Journalism
Pearson Education, Inc. © 2006 Government Regulation of the Electronic Media Print media are exempt from most forms of government regulation Excludes obscenity Why? Airwaves used by electronic media are considered public property and are leased by the federal government to private broadcasters. Airwaves are limited in supply. Without regulation, they would interfere with each other Telecommunications Act
Pearson Education, Inc. © 2006 Content Regulation Government attempts to regulate the electronic media Equal time rule Rule that requires broadcast stations to sell air time equally to all candidates in a political campaign if they choose to sell it anyway. Until 2000, FCC rules required ability to respond to personal attacks or political endorsements by a station. This was found to be unconstitutional. Fairness Doctrine Rule in effect from 1949 to 1985 requiring broadcasters to cover events adequately and to present contrasting views on important public issues.
Pearson Education, Inc. © 2006 Efforts to Regulate Media Practices In the U.S., only government officials can be prosecuted for divulging classified information. No such law exists for journalists. Nor can the government, except under extremely rare circumstances, impose prior restraints on the press.
Pearson Education, Inc. © 2006 Efforts to Regulate Media Practices Around the World Media context Dictatorships: media serve as a carefully controlled outlet for approved messages from those in charge to those being governed without consent. Constitutional monarchies: media cooperate with a monarch in a mutually beneficial relationship. Great Britain: nationals main electronic medium, the BBC, is owned by the country. Subjected to unusually strict regulation on the publication of governmental secrets. Official Secrets Act of 1911 Makes it a criminal offense to publish any facts, material, or news collected in that persons capacity as a public minister or civil servant.
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