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Presentation by Eric Miller, Blinn College, Bryan, Texas. The News Media: Communicating Political Images.

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Presentation on theme: "Presentation by Eric Miller, Blinn College, Bryan, Texas. The News Media: Communicating Political Images."— Presentation transcript:


2 Presentation by Eric Miller, Blinn College, Bryan, Texas. The News Media: Communicating Political Images

3 The press in America… determines what people will think and talk about–an authority that in other nations is reserved for tyrants, priests, parties, and mandarins.

4 News: Timely Dramatic Compelling Events News Media (the Press) provides a selective depiction of reality because it emphasizes dramatic events and excludes slow, steady processes

5 From a Partisan Press to an Objective One early American newspapers were supported by the political parties Gazette of the U.S.- founded to promote the policies of G. Washington National Gazette- formed as an opposition to the Republican party

6 Yellow Journalism emphasis on sensationalism led to the Spanish-American war Objective Journalism the reporter's job is to report the facts and cover alternative sides of a partisan debate Descriptive Reporting in the 1960s the vast majority of news was descriptive reporters stick to the facts Interpretive Reporting today most news is interpretive analysis & explanation of developments Most newspapers have a partisan bias on their editorial pages

7 The Development of the Broadcast Media Radio and Television: The Truly National Media reached millions of people simultaneously opened a direct, instantaneous channel between a leader and the people Government Licensing and Regulation of Broadcasters based on the scarcity of broadcasting frequencies The Communications Act (1934)-FCC regulates signal strength, ad rates, fees, and election coverage policies equal time requirement broadcasters cannot sell or give time to one political candidate and then provide it to another

8 The rise of the new news The end of the Fairness Doctrine Required broadcasters to afford reasonable opportunity for the discussion of conflicting views of public importance Broadcasters could not promote one party or issue position at the expense of another Cable news CNN Founded by Ted Turner in 1980 Chose to pursue a path of partisan neutrality Fox News Founded by Rupert Murdoch in 1996 Chose a partisan (conservative ) format

9 The rise of the new news Partisan radio talk shows Without the Fairness Doctrine, radio programmers were free to move to a politically partisan format Emergence of the Internet Low-cost entry compared with other mass media Provides ordinary citizens an opportunity to exercise their free press rights Some new news outlets a stunning success The Drudge Report, Daily Kos, Instapundit

10 The government provides lots of freedom 1 st Amendment & tradition of free expression libel laws favor the press over a public figure prior restraint of the press is rarely permissible fair and open debate allows the public to weigh and choose among competing arguments The government provides economic support Special postal rates Low broadcasting fees Substantial audience reach Millions of viewers and readers

11 Pack Journalism Major news organizations only differ in the way in which they present stories about the same topic AP, Reuters, NY Times wire services

12 Domination of the News Production News Values and Imperatives NY Times stets a general standard of news reporting sets the agenda for other news organizations a pioneer in objective journalism the bulletin board for other major newspapers Megamedia: Mergers, Profits, and the News

13 The Signaler Role Alert the public to important developments Informing the public of important news as quickly as possible U.S. media well-equipped to play this role Performed by the traditional media Wire services (AP, UPI, Reuters) Daily newspapers Television networks Agenda-setting of U.S. media results in similarity in national news everywhere News media are meant to inform the public, but also need to attract an audience Media focus on politics instead of policy


15 The Common-Carrier Role Conduit for political communication the press should provide a channel through which political leaders can communicate their views to the public the press serves as a link between the public and its leaders the presidency receives more coverage than any other institution TV news has become more journalist-centered Topics sometimes distilled to the sound bite time showing the presidential candidates speaking has declined 1960s- 40+ seconds today- -10 seconds Framing: the way events are cast Priming: the process by which a communicated message, because of its content, activates certain opinions but not others


17 The Watchdog Role Objective journalism fosters watchdog reporting Iraqi prisoners Watergate scandal great example of the press as a government watchdog Bad news most news today tends to be negative WikiLeaks Bradley Manning: hero or villain? Collateral Murder Watchdog function failures Post-9/11 terrorist attacks- Iraq War Internet has expanded watchdog capacity of media


19 Partisan function Traditional media: mostly neutral Talk shows: mostly conservative The Internet: mostly liberal


21 The Public-Representative Role The idea that the press represents the people the press is least equipped to serve in this role they are not accountable to the people, they are accountable to their shareholders

22 News creates a pseudo-community. Media serves as a channel for the expression of public opinion. A mass versus a public. Mass- people without connection Public- people connected through organizations or networks that enable them to act in concert

23 The shrinking audience for news Television contributed to news consumption until 1980s Expansion of cable reduced news consumption More news available, but alternate programming aids avoidance of news

24 Age and attention to news News audience typically older adults Reading habits versus on-demand access Young adults more inclined toward partisan news sources Internet has provided more news outlets but has not increased overall news consumption Widening information gap between older and younger adults

25 Old traditional media dominated by a few outlets Traditional media still major players but with smaller audience Fragmented news sources have led to partisan polarization among audience


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