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Mass Media Mass Media refers to all forms of communication that transmit information to the general public.

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Presentation on theme: "Mass Media Mass Media refers to all forms of communication that transmit information to the general public."— Presentation transcript:

1 Mass Media Mass Media refers to all forms of communication that transmit information to the general public.

2 Key Definitions A medium is a means of communication Media is the plural of medium The mass media are means of communication, such as newspapers, radio, television, and the internet, that can reach large, widely dispersed audiences.

3 Key Functions of Mass Media Entertainment – The mass media emphasize entertainment. – Popular programs are continued, while programs that receive low ratings are cancelled. News Reports – American newspapers have reported political news sence the late eighteenth century. – For example, newspapers printed the Federalist Papers as part of their coverage of the debate over the ratification of the Constitution. – Radio and TV stations provide their audiences with verging degrees of news programming

4 Key Functions of Mass Media Creation of political forums – Politicians use the mass media to promote their careers and draw public attention to their issues. – The president has direct access to the media and is thus able to use it to help set the policy agenda.

5 The Mass Media as Linkage Institutions The mass media connect people to their government officials by interviewing citizens, presenting poll results, and covering protests. The mass media connect government officials to the public interviewing political leaders and reporting on government committees and programs.

6 Test Tip The mass media, political parties, and interest groups are key linkage institutions. Be sure that you can identify these linkage institutions and explain the ways that they connect citizens to the government.

7 Types of Mass Media Newspapers – The New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal are America’ most influential newspapers. – Most newspaper circulation rates have steadily declined as a result of competition from television and the Internet. – In 1960, 50% of adults regularly purchased a newspaper. – Today, the figure has fallen to less than 20%.

8 Types of Mass Media Magazines – Time, Newsweek, and U.S. News & World Report are America’s most widely read and influential news magazines. – Magazine circulation rates have fallen sharply as a result of competition from the Internet.

9 Broadcast Media Radio – Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first president to take advantage of radio. – During the Great Depression, FDR used what he called “fireside chats” to reassure the American people and discuss his New Deal programs. – Most radio stations now devote little time to reporting political news.

10 Broadcast Media Within recent years, nationally syndicated talk show hostat have begun to play a prominent and controversial role in discussing political issues. Leading conservative commentators include Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. Leading liberal commentators include Thom Hartmann and Rachel Maddow.

11 Broadcast Media Television – The 1960 presidential debates between Senator John F. Kennedy and Vice President Richard Nixon marked a watershed event when Television replaced newspapers and radio as America’s principal source of political news. – Over 98% of American households own at least one television.

12 Broadcast Media Television – The 3 major networks – NBC, CBS, and ABC – have historically dominated political coverage with their nightly news programs and news specials. – The networks are experiencing a steady decline of viewership as more and more people turn to cable stations and the Internet. – Cable networks such as CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC now provide continuous coverage of national and international news.

13 The Internet Although television continues to be the most widely used source for political news, the Internet is rapidly becoming a key source of information for the American people. The Internet is especially popular among people under the age of 30. Many websites such as and the Huffington Post provide extensive coverage of political issues and policymakers.

14 The Internet Web blogs and twitter now facilitate rapid communication between the public and government policymakers.

15 The Media and Politics The policy agenda consists of issues that attract the serious attention of public officials. The mass media play an important role in drawing public attention to particular issues.

16 Candidate-Centered Political Campaigns Political campaigns have become more centered on candidates and less focused on issues.

17 Candidate-Centered Political Campaigns The mass media contribute to the candidate- centered campaigns in the following ways: – By replacing speeches and dialogues with sound bites that average just 7.8 seconds in length. – By focusing on day-to-day campaign activities such as rallies, gaffes, scandals, and negative commercials. – By engaging in “horse-race journalism,” which emphasizes is political journalism of elections that resembles coverage of horse races because of the focus on polling data, public perception instead of candidate policy, and almost exclusive reporting on candidate differences rather than similarities.

18 Test Tip The mass media is an important linkage institution. However, its political role has not been reflected on AP U.S. Government and Politics exams. Of the 360 released multiple-choice questions, less than 10 focused on the mass media. Of the 44 free-response questions asked between 2000 and 2013, just 2 have focused on mass media.

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