Presentation on theme: " Televised debates may have determined the outcome of the 1960 presidential election. The Republican candidate, Richard Nixon, had injured his knee weeks."— Presentation transcript:
Televised debates may have determined the outcome of the 1960 presidential election. The Republican candidate, Richard Nixon, had injured his knee weeks earlier and was still in pain. He also had lost weight and looked haggard. By contrast, John F. Kennedy had just returned from a rest in Florida and looked fit and tanned. Most radio listeners thought Nixon had won the debates, but the far larger television audience perceived Kennedy as the victor. Kennedy won the election by a paper-thin margin of 118,000 votes.
1. The First Amendment guarantees freedom of the press; the press is free from prior restraint. 2. Public officials almost never win libel suits because there is no law against criticizing government officials.
1. Lower courts generally have supported the right of the press to have information about government actions and decisions. 2. The media have fought in the courts for shield laws to avoid disclosing sources; no such federal law exists, though more than half the states have them.
1. The federal government has the power to regulate the broadcast media because airwaves are a public resource. 2. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulates interstate and international communications by radio, television, telephone, telegraph, cable and satellite. 3. The FCC cannot censor broadcasts, but it can fine stations that violate rules.
4. The extent of FCC content regulation varies in response to changing technology, court rulings, and changes in the political climate. For example the controversial fairness doctrine, which required broadcasters to guarantee equal airtime to both sides of a controversial issue, was removed during the Reagan administration. 5. Until 1996, the federal government set rules for media ownership to prevent a few owners from gaining control of the news and entertainment in the largest American cities. 6. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 ended or greatly relaxed many of the FCC’s limits on media ownership with the goal of increasing competition, and also tried to control violent and obscene content in the mass media.
1. National security concerns may conflict with citizens’ need to know, especially in foreign affairs, where weapons, intelligence information, and military secrets often are involved. 2. Government restriction on media coverage of military actions has varied. Media reporting on the Vietnam War and the secret Pentagon Papers in 1991 caused controversy; tensions caused the government to limit access to the battlefield during the 1991 Persian Gulf War.