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Bell Ringer What role does the media have in our society, especially regarding politics?

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Presentation on theme: "Bell Ringer What role does the media have in our society, especially regarding politics?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Bell Ringer What role does the media have in our society, especially regarding politics?

2 The Media

3 Public officials have a love-hate relationship with the media – “No news is good news” is better for them than the adage “No such thing as bad publicity” – They have to “woo” the press America is one of the freest countries regarding press – Out of 96 countries only 16 of them had “free press” – Even in England politicians can sue for libel and collect big bucks for “defamation” – (British) Official Secrets Act v. (American)Freedom of Information Act

4 The Media In America almost all TV and radio stations are owned by private citizens – They do require a license, good for 5-7 years In France all broadcasting is done through the government and they can/do prohibit airing anything that may “disturb public order” or make government look bad We have some regulation but the content is not—media is free air virtually all stories The downside of it being private is that they have to turn a profit meaning they have to entertain as well, not just report

5 Journalism in American Political History Party Press – Politicians created/controlled newspapers; they were expensive – Expressed the views of the politicians such as Andrew Jackson’s Washington Globe Popular Press – Technology made it possible for private citizens to go into the news business for themselves – 1848-Associated Press was created to send messages around the world via telegraph Had to be brief, thus no bias/partisanship, “just the facts”

6 Journalism in American Political History Popular Press – With private ownership came yellow journalism sensationalism (violence, romance, etc.) muckraking (someone who seeks stories about politicians acting against public policy)

7 Journalism in American Political History Magazines of Opinion – Americans who wanted more serious news sources turned to magazines like Harper’s and Cosmopolitan – Writers would contribute stories and gain national followings – Today’s magazines rarely focus on politics Electronic Journalism – Radio (1920s) – TV (1940s) These venues allowed politicians ability to speak directly to the people without editors and reporters But, in order to get air time they have to have serious political clout, be entertaining, and/or pay big bucks for the time slot

8 Journalism in American Political History Electronic journalism – Political talk shows are still relatively new media – Until the 90s the “big three” channels (ABC, NBC, CBS) had 80% of the viewership Evening newscast dominated the evening time slots and if the president was on, you were out of luck unless you had cable This is where the rise of morning news and cable news got it’s start(Ross Perot announced his presidential candidacy on Larry King Live)

9 Journalism in American Political History The Internet – The 2000 election was the first one where both candidates had a site – With 24 hour cable and internet news sites, the fate of newspapers is questionable

10 The Structure of the Media “No Spin Zone” HA! – The media is not a mirror of what is going on in politics – They provide their own “spin” on things creating bias In the radio and TV markets, competition is fierce – There are 5 major networks now and over 1,000 other channels (most of which have some sort of “news”) – Each of these have some audience that they play to

11 The Structure of the Media National News – CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, MSNBC all carry news aired nationally – Most newspapers are geared toward local news Except: Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor, and USA Today (New York Times and Washington Post are gaining in readership) National press is important because: – Politicians care about what is written in the national press – The national press plays the role of gatekeeper, scorekeeper, and watchdog

12 The Structure of the Media Gatekeeper – The national press determines what becomes national issues by what they choose to publish Scorekeeper – Determines who is “winning” in the press – Treats elections like horse races – The Iowa Caucus and other primaries are given great importance as the season openers for the election

13 The Structure of the Media Watchdog – Once candidates are chosen for the race the media pays extra attention to them – How did we know that Clinton “didn’t inhale” or that Bush did cocaine before his time in office? – While the media has their favorites, they are always willing to run them over if it will improve ratings

14 Rules Governing the Media Newspapers/magazines are given some of the greatest freedom – Only restrictions-can’t print libelous, obscene, and/or material created to incite violence or overthrow of the government Even in these cases, the Court has found in favor of the newspaper in most instances For libel you have to not only prove that they printed something false, but also have to prove they did it maliciously Obscene material is even harder to regulate without stepping on “artistic rights” and freedom of speech

15 Rules Governing the Media Confidentiality of sources is not a guarantee – It is decided on a case by case basis – Usually the Court finds in favor of the government and forces that reporter to release his source data Regulating Broadcasting – The Federal Communications Commission heavily regulates what is broadcasted – To have a radio/TV station you have to have a license and the FCC can turn you down – People are pushing for deregulation

16 Rules Governing the Media Regulations: – Equal time rule: if you sell time to one candidate you have to allow the other airtime as well – Right-of-reply rule: If a person is attacked (verbally) on your station, you have to allow for (verbal) retort from the attacked person – Political editorialization rule: If a broadcaster endorses a candidate, the opposing candidate has right to reply Fairness doctrine: (removed in 1987) required time for opposing side of an issue to be presented if station gave time to controversial topic

17 Assignment Choose one of the following and write a 500 word response (Due Monday, Feb. 4, 2013). What is the role of the media in a democracy? Be sure to include the following in your response: Is the media truly the 4th branch of government? Should it or does it have a “check and balance” function? Consider issues of National Security and war Is it possible to have an independent “For Profit” media? Provide 2 specific examples to support your argument. OR Evaluate the following statement by evaluating the role of each of the following: the media in all forms, the corporate owners, the government, and the citizens. “The only way to establish a free democracy is through a free press. Without a completely free press, democracy dies and the result is despotism. In short, a free and unfettered press is the life blood of a democracy”

18 Bell Ringer Does the media do a good job as “watch dog” over Washington? – Explain what a “good job” looks like and then give examples of how they are or are not doing so.

19 The Effects of the Media on Politics Media plays some role in our political behavior-but how much? – Americans suffer from selective attention-we only listen to the news that backs up our beliefs – While our voting habits don’t seem to change much based on media, our policies do Remember the data from issues in 2008 to 2009 Healthcare went from 9% to 22% in importance White House officials, knowing the importance of media, spend most of their time trying to get someone to be nice to the president

20 Government and the News Politicians and government agencies know that they must cultivate public opinion or perish – T.R. was the first to use “cultivate”—he made it a goal to do something news worthy everyday He built the West Wing and included a Press Room and only granted insider stories to friendly reporters and iced out hostile ones – The President now has a Press Secretary whose job is to handle news and media for him They brief president on likely asked questions, controls flow of cabinet department news, deals with out-of-town news editors No other country on earth has the press so close to their government (literally in the president’s home)

21 Government and the News Coverage of Congress – Congress envies the coverage the president gets, but can’t compete Until 1970s filming equipment wasn’t allowed in the House while Congress was in session – Since 1979 CSPAN has been filming non-stop – What event could have provoked their change of heart? Senate is much more likely to be covered since it’s the incubator for future presidents – Governors hoping to be president have to pray for a natural disaster to get TV time on the national level

22 Government and the News “Rules of Politics” Media All secrets become public knowledge All stories written about me are inaccurate; all stories about you are entirely accurate The rosier the news, the higher ranking the official who announces it is Always release back news on a Saturday Never argue with a person who buys ink by the barrel

23 Interpreting Political News Most Americans trust TV news to written news because they can hear how things are being said plus what is said Since 1985 people have become less trusting in news in general – Dan Rather lost significant credibility as did Ted Koppel; CNN gained credibility People feared that when newspapers endorsed a candidate, it would slant the public—the 1948 and 1996 elections proved that was not the case What is in the media doesn’t reflect the public – 1972 election 61% of public voted Nixon, 19% in the press – 1992 election 41% of public voted Clinton, 80% in the press

24 Interpreting Political News Types of stories: – Routine stories: things that everyone in the press knows and regularly reports on (State of the Union address) – Feature stories: Something any reporter can investigate and report on, but must take the time to do so; not plainly known – Insider stories: Information not known without “insider” info; must be “leaked” When evaluating insider stories: – What beliefs led the editor to run this story? – How are the “experts” in the story related to the issue? – What adjectives are being used to “spin” the story?

25 Interpreting Political News American government is the leakiest in the world – Why? Too many cooks in the kitchen who are competing with each other We have an adversarial press—one that is suspicious of officials and eager to break the “real story” Many people do not like modern press’ attack on leaders such as Quayle’s misspelling of potato, Clinton’s sexual relations, or Obama’s bowing – This is reflected by the people’s distrust in the media

26 Interpreting Political News Media constantly attacks big business which is leading to distrust in businesses – Funny thing, media is big business so it is slowly coming around to bite them News wasn’t always so sensationalized – FDR, JFK, and MLK all had affairs that the press knew about and didn’t report, why? – Money—press is a business and thus seeks to turn a profit by having the largest number of viewers/readers Politicians, such as Clinton, tried to “spin” the stories in their favor by depicting those speaking against him as liars, bimbos, or stalkers – Kenneth Star was accused of being a muckraker

27 Assignment Follow your Senator or Representative in Congress on Twitter and/or Like him/her on Facebook and answer the following questions: 1.Name and District 2.Committees on which the member of Congress serves 3.What is your Senator or Representative doing in the district this week or recently? 4.What is your Representative/Senator doing in Washington this week or recently? 5.Tell us what ideas/legislation has your Rep/Senator taken on recently on behalf of constituents and/or on behalf of the country? 6.Finally, comment on the use of social media to connect with constituents and other important supporters. Due Wednesday, February 6, 2013!

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