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Media “The Fourth Estate”. Key Terms A medium is a means of communication. Media is the plural of medium. The mass media are means of communication that.

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Presentation on theme: "Media “The Fourth Estate”. Key Terms A medium is a means of communication. Media is the plural of medium. The mass media are means of communication that."— Presentation transcript:

1 Media “The Fourth Estate”

2 Key Terms A medium is a means of communication. Media is the plural of medium. The mass media are means of communication that can reach large, widely dispersed audiences. Examples??

3 Functions of the Media Entertainment – very ratings driven. News reports – since the late 1700’s. Agenda setting – ability of the media to draw public attention to certain issues and to ignore other issues. Political forum – place for politicians to make announcements or draw attention to themselves –Presidents have the greatest direct access.

4 The Bully Pulpit

5 Print Media Yellow Journalism – Sensational style of reporting characterized newspapers at the turn of the century. Chains - Groups of newspapers published by media conglomerates and today accounting for over four-fifths of the nation’s daily newspaper circulation. Circulation of newspapers and magazines have fallen steadily as the internet and social media sites have grown in importance.

6 Print Media Newspapers Among the most influential newspapers today are the New York Times the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal. For most newspapers in medium-sized and small towns, the main source of national and world news is the Associated Press wire service. Magazines Newsweeklies such as Time, Newsweek, and U.S. News and World Report rank well behind popular favorites such as Reader’s Digest, TV Guide, and National Geographic. Serious magazines of political news and opinion (such as the New Republic, the National Review, and Commentary) are primarily read by the educated elite

7 Broadcast Media Radio –FDR was the first to take advantage of radio with his “fireside chats”. –Most radio stations devote very little time to reporting political news. –Recently, “talk radio” has gained prominence in discussion of political issues. Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck – conservatives Rachel Maddow, Ed Schultz - liberals

8 Broadcast Media Television –1960 Kennedy-Nixon debates led TV to replace newspapers and radio as our main source of political news. –98% of American households own at least one television. –The “Big Three” (NBC, ABC, and CBS) dominated political coverage for years, but…

9 Broadcast Media From Broadcasting to Narrowcasting: The Rise of Cable and Cable News –Viewership of major networks has declined as cable news networks that offer continuous news coverage have become available. –Cable TV news channels can bring the news to people and political leaders as it happens. –Narrowcasting - Media programming on cable TV or Internet that is focused on one topic and is often aimed at a particular audience.

10 The Internet The Internet is quickly overtaking other media, particularly with people under age 30. The Internet is purposive – People choose what to learn about and can do so at their convenience. Websites exist for all ideologies. Blogs and podcasts provide additional information about news stories (be wary – there are also dragons on the internet...). Social Media has become a major source of information in real time.


12 Government Regulation 1 st Amendment – freedom of press The Government can’t place “prior restraint” on news (can’t censor news before it is released) The press is not entirely free – they are regulated with respect to what they can and cannot allow to be broadcast. –This is perhaps why Howard Stern went to satellite radio…

13 FCC Federal Communications Commission – regulates the use of airwaves –7 words you can’t say on television… –Jeannie’s naval… –The Flintstones had separate beds!! Who are they? – 5 members (no more than 3 from the same political party) nominated by US President for 5 year terms.

14 FCC’s Role Prevention of monopolies of control over a broadcast market the FCC has instituted rules to limit the number of stations owned or controlled by one company. Since a simplification in 1996, the rule has been just that no single owner can control more than 35 percent of the broadcast market. Controls the media, no one may operate radio or TV stations without an FCC issued license. a station must serve the public interest. The FCC has on only rare occasion withdrawn licenses for failing to do so, as when a Chicago station lost its license for neglecting informational programs and for presenting obscene movies.

15 FCC’s Role Fair treatment rules concerning access to the airwaves for political candidates and officeholders. The equal time rule stipulates that if a station sells advertising time to one candidate, it must be willing to sell equal time to other candidates for the same office. And the right-of-reply rule states if a person is attacked on a broadcast other than the news, then that person has a right to reply via the same station.

16 Who Owns the News? Private Control of the Media –The First Amendment means that our media is independent in what they can report. –Profits totally depend on advertising revenues. –Primary objective is getting the biggest possible audience (then advertising spots are worth more $$$). –Chains – Massive media conglomerates that account for over 80% of the nation’s daily newspaper circulation.

17 Media Conglomerates Remember Andrew Carnegie and Horizontal Integration??? Gannet owns USA Today and controls the biggest circulation in the nation + owns 100 additional papers Rupert Murdoch owns 124 radio stations, New York Post, Weekly Standard, and FOX News

18 Who Owns the News?

19 Impact of Media on Politics Finding the News –Beats – Specific locations from which news frequently emanates, like Congress or White House. –Trial Balloons – An intentional news leak for the purpose of assessing political reaction. –Reporters and their sources depend on each other for stories and to get them out.

20 Information is key…


22 Impact of Media on Politics Presenting the News –Superficial describes most news coverage today. –Sound Bites – Short video clips of approximately 10 seconds. –Major TV networks devote less time to covering political candidates. –Horse Race Journalism - Coverage is often dedicated to the latest polling rather than the candidate’s position on issues.

23 Impact of Media on Politics Bias in the News –Many people believe the news is biased in favor of one point of view. –Generally is not very biased toward a particular ideology. Cable networks and websites are usually exceptions to this… –News reporting is biased towards what will draw the largest audience, such as good pictures and negative reporting.

24 Media Bias

25 Impact of Media on Politics Agenda Setting –By increasing public attention to specific problems, the media influence how the public evaluates political leaders. –By emphasizing one event over others, the media can have an effect on how the public evaluates specific events.

26 Media and Political Campaigns Individualism –Candidates run on their own by appealing to people on television. Likeability trumps issues –This lessens the influence of Parties. –Easier to focus on one person like the president, than groups, Congress, or the courts. This allows most Congressional incumbents to be re-elected.

27 Media and Political Campaigns Advertising – very expensive on TV, a way to reach many voters, but raises campaign costs Media Events – “free” coverage, politicians will attempt to create events where media will attend for free publicity –Spin doctor – one who tries to influence journalists with interpretations of events that are favorable to the candidate Presidential Debates – also FREE

28 Media and Gov’t Officials White House Press Corp – journalists whose sole job is to follow the President White House Press Secretary – responsible for addressing the press daily and answer questions for the president State of the Union Address – annual policy speech

29 Media Good? –“Information is the fuel of democracy.” –But news provides more entertainment than information; it is superficial. –News is a business, giving people what they want…which sadly is often fluff rather than good journalism. 

30 Media Good? –Politicians stage media events for the primary purpose of getting attention from the media. –These events are artfully stage- managed to present the intended message. –Campaign commercials are also carefully crafted to convey specific images and information.

31 Media Good? –Our free press SHOULD act as a watchdog to monitor and restrict the actions of the government. –New proposals are met with skepticism which restricts scope of government, what it can do. –Media reports problem and force government to address it, which expands the scope of government.

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