Presentation on theme: "The Media and Politics Politics in the Age of Mass Media."— Presentation transcript:
The Media and Politics Politics in the Age of Mass Media
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
Media and Politics Theories of Media and Politics Patterson Sabato Zaller Media and Elections Debates Conventions Ads
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
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
Sabato’s Feeding Frenzy Lapdog journalism (1941-1966) Reporting that served and reinforced the political establishment. Watchdog (1966-1974) 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.
Causes of the Feeding Frenzy Advances in media technology Competitive pressure Political events
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
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." 1988 - “You’re no Jack Kennedy” 1988 - Death Penalty 1992 - Price of milk? 2000 - Gore (sighing)
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
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
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