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The Media and American Politics

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1 The Media and American Politics

2 Write answers to these questions in your notes.
Where do you get your news information from? Do you trust your news sources? Explain. What news stories have you recently heard about? Have students write answers in Binder. Share with a partner. Discuss as a class.

3 The Mass Media have often been called the “forth estate” or “fourth branch of government.”
Mass Media- Means of communication that reach the public, including newspapers, magazines, radio, tv, films, recordings, books, and electronic communication -reach almost everyone in US -influence culture and politics

4 The News Media are the parts of the mass media that tell the public what is going on in the country and the world. -Distinction beetween entertainment and news have become increasingly blurred. News programs often have entertainment value- Dateline, The Daily Show -Must appeal to large and heterogeneous audience- make money -messages often simplified, stereotyped and predictable.

5 The Agenda-setting theory states that the news media have a large influence on audiences, in terms of what stories are considered newsworthy and how much prominence, space and time to give them. Media helps determine what topics will become subjects of pubic debate and legislation

6 Agenda setting allows the media to become a gatekeeper- influencing what subjects become political issues and for how long.

7 Issue Framing happens when the media or politicians present an issue in a way that will likely get the most agreement from others.

8 The Media also acts as a “Score keeper”- keeping track of political reputations and candidacies.
The scorekeepers role is very simple, they keep score of different important events. The scorekeeper would for example, keep coverage of the election polls during the Iowa caucus, and the primary, etc.. It is the scorekeepers role to keep the scores basically, of these events, and that's how we are aware of the scores, thanks to the scorekeeper.

9 The media can serve as a watchdog, aiming at holding the government accountable. It watches for inefficiency and illegal practices. Watchdog journalism is a type of investigative journalism. It refers to forms of activist journalism aimed at holding accountable public personalities and institutions whose functions impact social and political life. …

10 The Media also tends to show Sound Bites- brief statements taken from longer speeches or interviews.
Rather than take from full speech, take about 30 second clip Don’t get the full story- can be manipulated…

11 When reporting a story, the Media can also show “Talking Heads”- televised pictures showing nothing more than individuals speaking. Reporters discussing issue- telling facts/opinion -not looking to others, no video footage

12 News Coverage of Campaigns is greatest in presidential contests and less in statewide races.
-Generally, the more news attenton given the campaign, the les likely voters are to be swayed by any one source. News coverage is then more likely to be influential in a city council contest than a presidential race

13 TV has also influenced what traits are important in a candidate.
Used to just need a set of strong lungs; today you need a telegenic appearance, a pleasing voice, and no obvious physical impairments -1930s- press didn’t disclose FDR in his wheelchair where today we know every detail of president's health -Kerry described as “French looking and flip-flopping”; Bush as stubborn and smirking when Kerry spoke in debates -highlight mistakes and gaffes by candidates and office holders: INSERT MISTAKE CLIPS

14 Should a President’s Appearance Matter?
President Taft- weight FDR- wheelchair

15 Should appearance matter?
Chris Christie- Gov of New Jersey

16 The Media and Voter Choice
Substance over Personality Should the media report on a candidate’s personality and background or issues and policy? The Horse Race A contest in which the focus is on who is ahead and by how much rather than on the substantive difference between the candidates Negative Advertising Voters say attack style of politics turns them off Campaign consultants believe it works -negative campaigns foster lower voter turnout; may discourage some voters who would have been inclined to support a candidate while making supporters more likely to vote

17 The Media and Voter Choice
Information about Issues More issue-centered focus (civic journalism) Making a Decision Media has more influence in determining the outcome of primaries than of general elections Election Night Reporting Election returns from the East Coast come in 3 hours before the polls close on the West coast -major networks may project presidential winner well before polls close in western states- may discourage western voters from voting -in a close presidential race, early reporting may stimulate turnout because voters know their vote could determine the outcome -2000 election- projected that AL Gore won Florida but soon had second thoughts; Fox reported Bush won Florida; but actually too close to call and no network should have called the race

18 The News and its Formats

19 92% of Americans now get their news from multiple platforms daily.
Stats are from Pew Research Center 2010 ( -The internet is now the third most-popular news platform, behind local and national television news and ahead of national print newspapers, local print newspapers and radio -Among those who get news online, 75% get news forwarded through or posts on social networking sites and 52% share links to news with others via those means.

20 News today is becoming portable, personalized and participatory.
-Portable: 33% of cell phone owners now access news on their cell phones. -Personalized: 28% of internet users have customized their home page to include news from sources and on topics that particularly interest them (mention iGoogle) -Participatory: 37% of internet users have contributed to the creation of news, commented about it, via postings on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter.

21 The typical online news consumer routinely uses just a handful of news sites and does not have a particular favorite. Overall, Americans have mixed feelings about this “new” news environment. Over half (55%) say it is easier to keep up with news and information today than it was five years ago, but 70% feel the amount of news and information available from different sources is overwhelming.

22 To review Friday’s content, discuss these key points with your neighbor
The roles of the Media: Agenda-setting Gatekeeper Issue Framing Scorekeeper Watchdog How does the media impact: Candidates’ appearances Voter Choice

23 Television has changed American Politics more than any other invention.
=emotional impact that print media can rarely match -cuts across age groups, educational levels, social classes and races. -most Americans watch some kind of tv daily; 4.5 hours a day; 2 tv sets per house -instant access to news

24 Rise of Cable and Internet
The growth of 24 hour news and information shows is one of the most important developments in recent years. Network news (CBS, ABC, NBC)= 90% of audience Late 1980s Broadcast networks- 44% CNN and Fox News- 46% 24 hour news cycle Rise of Cable and Internet CNN started in hour news cycle. 1986- only network to show live Challenger space shuttle launch and explosion Gulf War in major event that catapulted the channel past the major American networks; only news outlet able to communicate from inside Iraq during the initial hours of the coaltion bombing campaign; watched by a billion people worldwide First Channel to break 9-11 attacks -Competition from cable stations for viewing has put pressure on broadcast networks to remain profitable.

25 One of the biggest changes in American electoral politics is that most voters now rely more on TV commercials for information about candidates and issues and less on news coverage. -Debates and speeches generate coverage but the TV ads are trying to gain votes -results is that campaigns focus on image and slogans rather than on substance -successful candidates must be able to communicate with voters through this medium -Ads made by party soft money, and electioneering interest groups have equaled or exceeded what candidates spend in a competitive race. To voters, indistinguishable, but tone often more negative.

26 Much of the advertising is Issue Advocacy- promoting a particular position or an issue by interest groups or individuals but not candidates. Much issue advocacy is often electioneering or express advocacy. Advertising can be by tv, phone, mail, radio, in person Do Issue Framing- The way that politicians or interest group leaders define an issue when presenting it to others.

27 The “Dean Scream”

28 Even with the advent of TV and Internet, Radio still influences politics.
-Radio reaches more households than tv does; only 1 household in 100 does not have a radio, compared to 2 in 100 without a tc -more than 9 out of 10 people listen to the radio each week; 8 out of 10 every day -essential companion when driving; get “facts” but also analysis and opinion -Political campaigns tend to target younger or older voters, women, Hispanics.

29 The Newspaper continues to be read despite circulation declining for the past 30 years.
55 million nationwide; less than 1 copy for 5 people -decline in readership among younger people. -local newspapers and national (USA Today, Wall Street Journal)

30 The Internet has changed how candidates run their campaign.
-Internet allows people to interact with one anohter and politicians. Highly used by young people; 76% of teens get news online -Candidates use the web for fundraising- Howard Dean (running for D-Pres nominee) was the first to do so in 2004 when he used the internet to raise money quickly and inexpensively via the web. Half of the estimated $40 million he raised came from the internet. Internet also helped Kerry in 2004 -Inexpensive way to communicate with volunteers, contributors and voters -Candidates have websites, facebook pages, twitter, etc…

31 Limitation- usually only supporters of candidate go to webpage
Likely won’t get new supporters; but good way to communicate, mobilize, get enthused supporters

32 Let’s Review… Why is the media often called the “4th branch of Government?” Do you agree with this designation? Explain. How has the creation of the TV and 24 hour news cycle impacted politics? How do the following impact politics: Radio Newspapers Internet

33 The History of the News If you are taking the AP test in May (or think you are), read MORE about this in the book…Chapter 10!

34 The News Media have changed dramatically over the course of U. S
The News Media have changed dramatically over the course of U.S. history. When Constitution was ratified, newspapers were a single sheet, often published irregularly. -Framers understood the importance of the press as a watchdog of politicians and government and the Bill of Rights guaranteed the freedom of the press.

35 The early American press served as a mouthpiece for political leaders (party press).
Alexander Hamilton (Federalist) and Thomas Jefferson (Republican-later Democratic party) realized the need to keep voters informed. Both recruit men to start newspapers in Philadelphia. The 2 newspapers were competing and partisan. Only lasted a few years.

36 In the 1820s-1830s, the press began to shift its appeal away from elite readers and towards the masses. -right to vote extended to all free white males; rising literacy rate enforced this trend. Increased political particiation and rise of literacy began to alter the relationship between politicians and the press “Penny Press”- charge a penny per paper during delivery rather than annual subscription; expanded circulation, increased advertising, which allowed papers to be financially independent of the political parties -Now, news was less political

37 In the early 1900s, many journalist argued that the press should be independent of the parties and objective. Objective journalism was a reaction to the exaggeration and sensationalism in the news media, something called yellow journalism -journalists began to views their work as a profession and established professional associations with journals and codes of ethics -Rise of wire services- the Associated Press and Reuters which remained politically neutral to attract more readers

38 Radio and TV personalized the news.
By 1920s- radio networks carried political speeches, campaign advertising and coverage of political events; politicians speak directly to listeners; increased interest in national news president FDR used radio “fireside chats”- spoke on personal level -TV added visual dimension which increased audience and interest in national events. -By 1963, the 2 largest news networks, CBS and NBC, expanded news programs from 15 minutes to 30 minutes.

39 News reporters also investigate the news and their investigations often have political consequences.
-Seymour Hersh- Pentagon Papers- how the US became involved in the Vietnam War -Woodward and Bernstein (washington Post)- report on Watergate scandal; Informant “Deep Throat”- in 2005 revealed it was Mark Felt, former deputy director of FBI

40 Media Companies have merged and created large conglomerates (owning many newspapers and TV stations). -Many are international -Rupert Murdoch, founder of FOX news, owns News Corporation; 2nd largest news conglomerate (Wall Street Journal, Harper Collins, 20th Century Fox); over 800 companies in 50 counties -Walt Disney Company is largest media conglomerate- owns Disney Channel, A and E, ESPN, ABC, etc -Making media companies profitable is often a reason for consolidation of media firms.

41 What is the problem with the news media becoming consolidated?
-information more diluted, homogenized and moderated -”gatekeeper”- reducing independent providers.

42 Bell work: Discuss the following with your neighbor
1. Why is the media often called the “4th branch of Government?” Do you agree with this designation? Explain. 2. How has the creation of the TV and 24 hour news cycle impacted politics? 3. How has the internet changed how candidates campaign? 4. How has the media changed over the course of U.S. History?

43 The government does regulate the media through the FCC (Federal Communications Commission).
FCC- independent regulatory commission charged with licensing stations, financing, content and tv/radio frequencies -occasionally fines or penalizes broadcasters who violate decency standards -Fined CBS for Superbowl Halftime show with Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake (wardrobe malfunction) -FCC also relaxing and striking down regulations that limit cable and tv network ownership by the same company- allowing for media conglomeration. Internet completely unregulated; can’t regulate satellite or cable

44 Television’s ability to present images and communicate events has influenced American’s public opinion. TV footage of violence during Civil Rights era made the issue more real and immediate -coverage of Vietnam started antiwar protests -Kennedy and Nixon debates; radio though Nixon won; TV Kennedy won -Bush in 2001 after 9-11= made him seem like a strong leader; controversy over going to war in Iraq helped lead to his decline in popularity

45 Mission Accomplished- war in Iraq (2003)- stated it was an end to combat operations. Did coincide with the conventional phase of the war, but guerilla war phase happened after. Vast amount of casualities after speech

46 What is Objective and Opinion Journalism?
Journalists do not allow their personal biases to affect their work Take a neutral stance even on difficult matters and give a fair representation of events and issues Opinion: Features a subjective viewpoint usually with a social or political purpose Has a reduced focus on detailed facts or research

47 Case Study: Romney and the 47% comment
To examine media bias and the roles of the media, we are going to look at Romney’s 47% comment and how it was portrayed by various news sources.

48 Bell work: What conclusions can you draw from this data
Bell work: What conclusions can you draw from this data? Write 5 conclusions in your notes. Write 5 conclusions in notes for bellwork. Which medium would you advise Romney and Obama to use when campaigning? Which should they use to target older voters? Younger voters? Based off of this data, where should Obama and Romney place campaign ads? Where should they use to target older voters? Younger voters?

49 The Media Today

50 Are the Media Biased? -Liberals contend that the ruling class control the press and that gov propaganda distorts the facts -Conservatives say the press is too liberal in how it selects and interprets the news it covers -Many reporters pride themselves on being impartial on reporting the facts but most are liberal; Editors tend to be a bit more conservative and media owners are more conservative

51 Factors that Limit Media Influence on Public Opinion
Political Socialization The process by which we develop our political attitudes, values and beliefs Selectivity Selective Exposure- process by which individuals screen out messages that do not conform to their own biases Selective Perception- the process by which individuals perceive what they want to in media messages -Media is a socializing force, but not as strong as famiy and friends. -SE- subscribe to newspapers or magazines or turn to tv stations that support their views -SP- Clinton with Monica Lewinsky- Republicans 4 times more likely than democrats to believe that Clinton had been involved with Lewinsky; different opinions on whether he should remain in office; 2/3 R want him out; 87% D want him presidents

52 Factors that Limit Media Influence on Public Opinion
Needs Politics vs entertainment Pay attention to news that affects your life Audience Fragmentation People are scattered across more press outlets Can now tailor news to preferred point of view -

53 What is the Policy Agenda? How does the media affect it?
Policy Agenda- The informal list of issues that Congress and the President consider the most important for action The Press- Brings the issue to the attention of the public Rarely follow policy to its conclusion Are criticized for issue framing, making sound bites out of complex issues

54 Political Institutions and the News Media
Executive Branch Legislative Branch Judicial Branch President- star of media; news conferences command attention; every activity he engages in is potentially newsworthy; most coverage is usually favorable to neutral; speaks with a single voice; represents the nation; more powerful than any single member of Congress Congress- members typically have a press relations staffer; Congress has recording studios for taking news segments; appear on talk radio; more likely to receive negative coverage than the President or Supreme Court; lacks single spokesman for entire institution; Congress does not arrange its schedule to accommodate the media; represents states/districts -Federal Jusiciary least dependent on the Press- Supreme Court does not rely on public communication for political support; no TV cameras for covering oral arguments; rarely allows audio taping and bars reporters when it votes; wants to retain an image of aloofness from politcs and public opinion

55 The Government can also release a “Trial Balloon”- intentionally leaking news for the purpose of assessing the political reaction. Can be used to companies too -Ex- run an ad in one state before others to gauge reaction

56 Let’s Review Again … What limits the media’s impact on public opinion? Explain. What is the role of the news in politics? Be sure to mention each branch: Legislative, Executive and Judicial.

57 Romney 47% Silent Discussion…

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