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The Media and Politics Politics in the Age of Mass Media.

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Presentation on theme: "The Media and Politics Politics in the Age of Mass Media."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Media and Politics Politics in the Age of Mass Media

2 Media and Elections  Politicians and media have a symbiotic relationship  Media focus on conflict and negative advertisements  Media focus on frontrunners and the horserace  Campaigns focus on spin and soundbites

3 Media and Politics  Theories of Media and Politics Patterson Sabato Zaller  Media and Elections Debates Conventions Ads

4 Patterson’s Out of Order  Trends in media coverage of elections 1.Tone of coverage  Positive to negative 2.Style  Descriptive to interpretive 3.Issues  Policy issues to reporters’ issues

5 Patterson’s Out of Order Consequences 1.Tone of coverage  Positive to negative Consequence: Voters distrust candidates, government, media 2.Style  Descriptive to interpretive Consequence: Voters less informed 3.Issues  Policy issues to reporters’ issues Consequence: Voters adopt media frames/primes

6 Sabato’s Feeding Frenzy  Lapdog journalism ( )  Reporting that served and reinforced the political establishment.  Watchdog ( )  Scrutinized and checked the behavior of political elites by undertaking independent investigations into statements made by public officials.  Junkyard dog (1974 to present)  Reporting that is often and harsh, aggressive intrusive, where feeding frenzies flourish and gossip reaches print.

7 Causes of the Feeding Frenzy  Advances in media technology  Competitive pressure  Political events

8 Zaller’s Theory of Media Politics  Theory of campaign coverage needs to take into account the different interests of voters, media, and candidates 1.Voters: "Don’t waste my time"; "Tell me only what I need to know" 2.Candidates: Use journalists to "Get Our Story Out" 3.Journalists: Maximize their "voice" in the news

9 Media and Elections: Debates  1960: First Televised Debate  1984: Reagan’s Age "I will not make age an issue in this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent's youth and inexperience."  “You’re no Jack Kennedy”  Death Penalty  Price of milk?  Gore (sighing)

10 Media and Elections: Conventions  In the past, party conventions were much more important  Today, they are media events Nothing new happens Scripted events, speeches  Today, conventions usually give candidates a positive bump in the “horserace” These bumps are short-lived

11 Media and Elections: Ads  Political advertising: positive vs. negative Positive advertising Seek to define yourself before your opponent does it for you Negative advertising Does it work?  Yes  Voters remember negative ads longer than positive ads  Negative ads provide information to voters

12 1964 – Daisy SpotDaisy Spot 1988 – Willie HortonWillie Horton MeatballMeatball


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