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G-8: The News Media

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Title: G-8: The News Media


1
G-8 The News Media
2
Chapter 8- The News MediaLearning Objectives
  • (1). Examine News media's influence on public
    opinion the political agenda.
  • (2). Analyze the News Media's relationship with
    the government.
  • (3). Examine how the News Media changes over
    time, including journalistic conventions,
    readership "viewer-ship," and the changes in
    media ownership.
  • (4). Examine press freedom its limitations,
    discuss FOIA pool reporting.
  • (5). Discuss electronic media role of FCC,
    equal time fairness policies.
  • (6). Examine how news is reported, what makes
    news, rules of how it is told.
  • (7). Evaluate the media determine if it has a
    "liberal bias" or is just cynical.
  • (8). Assess the growing trend of news as
    entertainment.
  • (9). Discuss news medias role during political
    campaigns role of sound bites.
  • (10). Assess how well the media reports election
    results explain potential impact.
  • (11). Analyze the role of "news leaks" in
    reporting the news.

3
Do the News Media Matter?
  • Role of News Media?
  • Enable the public to ?__________their government
  • Why is that important?
  • Government by ?____________(hopefully informed)
  • The News Media and Public Opinion
  • Key Question
  • How much influence does Media have on Public
    Opinion?
  • Three factors to consider
  • 1. Medias coverage vs. event itself
  • 2. Array of Media views and voices
  • 3. Choice of who to listen to

Democracy means?
So what exactly is the problem?
4
Difficulty in Determining Medias Impact
  • Key Challenges
  • 1. Disentangling the medias coverage with the
    event itself can be challenging at times
  • 2. Enormous array of media voices in the United
    States with conflicting views
  • 3. Vast individual choice in media selection
  • Extent of News Medias influence?
  • Modest influence of some News Anchors
  • Role of Selective Perception?

5
Selective Perception
A phenomenon in which people perceive the same
event (How why?)
What is the role of selective perception in
forming Public Opinion?
Re-enforces what?_______ dismisses
what?__________
6
Media Influence
  • When is the News Media most likely to influence
    someones opinion?
  • When individuals knowledge about specific issue
    is what?
  • Or when the person has ? opinion about the issue
  • So what is the Medias main role wrt shaping
    Public Opinion?

7
Media Influence
What exactly does the Media influence?
The media plays a major role in shaping the
political ?________.
The Medias influence is over what people think
about (Not so much what they actually think)
8
Political Agenda
The list of issues considered important and that
government officials are actively debating.
9
News Media Political Agenda Summary
  • The Medias primary influence is over what
    Americans think about, and its ability to set (?)
  • The Political Agenda
  • list of issues considered important to Public
    interest
  • Worthy of attention political discussion or
    debate
  • Impact of News Media on Political Agenda
  • Significant power to shape the Publics agenda
  • (Americas political, economical, and social
    agenda)
  • Spotlight issues considered by Media to be
    important
  • Alert grab attention of public government
    officials
  • Several factors determine Medias choices
    (later)

10
The News Media and Government
  • Impact of coverage on government officials?
  • Focus on an issue gt alert publicgt
  • Exerts public pressure forcing Government to act
  • Examples
  • Iraqs killing of Kurds following Persian Gulf
    War
  • War lords starvation of people of Somalia
  • Widespread looting in Baghdad following US
    occupation
  • FEMAs poor management of disaster relief
  • NIE view conflicting with that of President on
    Iraq War
  • Neglect of wounded soldiers at Walter Reed VA
    outpatient care
  • Public awareness (by Media) forced Government
    response

11
News Media and the Government
The Two Way Street
The media affects government officials while at
the same time government officials often try to
influence the media as well
12
Two Way Street Media ltgt Government
  • Government officials attempt to influence
    coverage
  • President especially has great sway on issue
    covered
  • Success of Iraqi election counter criticism on
    lack of progress
  • In many cases gt Media follows Government lead,
    while in others the Government finds itself in
    damage control
  • As a result the Government tries to gain
    favorable coverage
  • How - through what?

13
? Control
The practice of trying to persuade journalists to
cover news stories in ways that put policies one
likes in the most favorable light.
14
Changes in the News Media
  • 3 key changes in New Medias past 200 years
  • 1. changes in the conventions of journalism
  • 2. changes in the way the public gets its news
  • The sources providing news to the public
  • 3. changes in the pattern of media ownership

15
Changes in Journalistic Conventions The
Evolution of press standards of coverage
  • Partisan press gt blatant supporter of particular
    party
  • Penny ?___________ gt revolutionized journalism
  • Mass circulation affordable to literate
    population
  • Emphasized human interest stories attract
    readers
  • Advertising sales covered costs gt no party
    ties
  • ? journalism gt sensational coverage (Box 8-1)
  • Remember the Maine gt Spanish-American War
  • Muckraking gt investigative reporting
    (Magazines)
  • ?__________ Press gt todays theoretical
    standard
  • Appeal to divergent viewsgt mass circulationgt
  • Key Terms to remembergt

16
The Evolution of Journalism
Yellow Journalism
A form of journalism, popular at the end of the
nineteenth century, that emphasized ?__________
and sometimes ?__________news coverage.
17
The Evolution of Journalism
  • Muckraking

Early form of ?____________ Journalism popular at
the Beginning of 20th century
18
The Evolution of Journalism
Objective Journalism
A form of journalism that developed in the 1920s
and which continues to predominate today. It
emphasizes that journalists should strive to
?____________________ out of their coverage of
the news.
19
Changes in Readership and Viewership
  • Explosion of news information 1950 gt 2000
  • What does this explosion of news hide?
  • Hides 4 important changes
  • Decline in Newspapers (with rise of what?)
  • Rise of ?_________________ TV
  • Rise of ?_________________ Radio
  • Rapid growth of the ?_________________

20
Decline of Newspaper Readers
Total number of newspapers
Decline of total number of newspapers read in the
United States, from 1945 to 2004
21
Trends in Regular News Consumption- of US
Population 1993-2004
Broadcast TV News versus Cable TV?
22
Impact of Cable TV
  • Rise of cable TV gt increased competition
  • Result Broadcast TV forced to cut budgets
  • Corporate owners stress profits over news
  • Overseas News Bureaus coverage hardest hit
  • Declining viewersgt shift to cablegt
  • Means less advertising gt more Budget cuts
  • Also as more TV used as news source
  • More emphasis on image style
  • less in-depth analysis gt
  • Result less informed public

23
Other Sources Talk Radio Internet
  • Rise of Talk Radiogtpromotes active political
    debate
  • Debate clarify or distort issues?
  • Conservative bias? Representative cross section
    of Nation?
  • Rapid growth of Internetgt
  • 50 US homes w/access and growing
  • Especially true w/younggt source of news
  • More than doubled as news source since 1998
  • Advantage rapid tailored dissemination
  • Excellent potential resource for research
    education
  • www.Congress.org
  • Disadvantage accuracy (rumors untruths)
  • no accountability and vulnerable to manipulation
    rumor
  • Also

24
Changes in Media Ownership
  • Rise of Corporation ownership gt priority?
  • ?_______________________!
  • Potential impact on news quality objectivity?
  • Increased trend toward concentration of
    ownership- Result?
  • Result number of owners ?_________________ gt
  • Consolidation focus more on
  • And less on ?_____________ news
  • Telecomm Competition Deregulation Act
  • Eliminated many restrictions on media ownershipgt
  • Further concentration gt which results in turngt
  • Increased of public reached by a few elite
    owners

25
Consolidation of the News
Number of corporations
Any Problem?
Consolidation of news outlets from 1981 to 2000
26
Concerns about Consolidation
  • Concerns of critics of more concentrated
    ownership
  • Diversity of news coverage op-ed diminished
  • More homogenized news/view acceptable to owners
  • Result restricts rather than promotes political
    debate
  • Offsetting checks to decrease impact of ownership
    concentration
  • 1. Fed regulatory actions to promote diversity of
    opinions
  • 2. Expansion of cable TV internetgt new info
    sources
  • 3. motive gt incentive to meet needs of
    audience

27
Freedom of the Press
Our liberty depends on freedom of the press, and
that cannot be limited without being lost.
Thomas Jefferson
Source of this guaranteed protection?
Is Freedom of the Press absolute? Are there any
restrictions?
28
Limits to Press Freedom
  • Two major categories of constraints
  • 1. ?______ Checks limiting freedom of action
  • 2. ?__________ Policies limiting press access

29
Limits to Press Freedom
  • Legal checks on freedom of the press
  • 1. ?___________ laws gt
  • press cant unjustly injure reputations
  • 2. ?____________ laws gt
  • seldom a problem for news coverage
  • 3. ?____________ restraint gt
  • Rarely applied (any exceptions?)

Any other constraints on Press freedom?
30
Other factors constraining press freedom
  • 4. ?_______________ secrecy gt classified
    documents
  • Requires government clearances (or leak) to see
  • FOIA attempts to make government declassify
    documents
  • 5. ?__________ pressure gt reporters depend on
    access
  • Threats, cut off contact, accusations of bias
    reporting
  • Without access gt no story gt press
    self-restraint
  • 6. ?__________ access gt US military operations
    (OPSEC)
  • Concern for press safety (more likely
    distraction)
  • Military L/L Vietnam gt Grenada gt PG war
  • Pool reporting gt press dissatisfactiongt
    unilaterals
  • Recent trends more controlled access ? go it
    alone
  • Embedding reporters with the troops
  • First hand reporting from the front through a
    soda straw

31
Reporting the News
  • What exactly is the Medias tremendous power
    (again)?
  • The Media sets the ?_____________________
  • So the Media plays key role in deciding what?
  • Media decides what actually ?___________________
  • Uses its subjective judgment to select what it
    considers news gt
  • Applies three specific criteria which are?

32
Medias 3 criteria for Selecting the News
  • __________
  • __________
  • __________

33
What Is News?
  • Subjective judgment applying the 3 specific
    criteria
  • 1. ___________ gt bad news corruption bias
    trumps good news
  • 2. ______________ gt closer to home trumps
    farther away
  • 3. ___________gt w/time stories fade as
    yesterdays news
  • Other selection influences
  • Pack journalismgt common desire to not miss story
  • Distinct weakness of packgt subject of
    manipulation
  • If one News outlet gets it wrong- the rest may
    also...
  • TV video factor gt action images trump talking
    heads
  • Major Shortfalls of above selection criteria
  • 1. Important stories may fail to meet above
    criteria
  • 2. Over time gt urgency public interest in
    story fades
  • Even though facts of event remain as first
    reported gt
  • Urgency of interest in the story declines with
    time

34
Telling the Story
  • How the news is reported gt
  • Media faced with many subjective choices
  • Total objectivity impartiality is simply
    impossible
  • Hard choices have to made- many stories left out
  • Attempts to minimize subjective reporting
  • Four rules are used by responsible journalists
  • What are these four rules?

35
Four Rules for Journalists
  • 1. Keep ?___________________out of story.
  • No advocacy/preference for one side or the other
  • 2. Avoid using obviously ?______________ words
  • 3. Get ?________________of the story
  • Sometimes not always practical (Daniel Pearl)
  • 4. Use ?_______________ sources for information
  • Cite true experts-
  • (Usually mid-high government officials)

Any exceptions to above rules?
36
Exceptions to the Rules
  • US at war (patriotism hard to completely avoid)
  • Value laden words used on more frequent basis
  • Terrorist vs. freedom fighter or Killed vs.
    massacred
  • Suicide Bomber vs. Martyr
  • Value laden Images have an even greater impact
  • Image Students kissing ground following Grenada
    rescue
  • The slant in news coverage (certain angle of
    view tone)
  • Getting both sides all the time risks distorting
    issue
  • Jews vs. Nazis contrasting views of the Holocaust
  • Responsible sources experts present unique
    problem
  • Many FP stories rely on Government
    expert/officials problem?
  • Government position or slant invariably pushed
  • Political experts give elite perspective or
    bias
  • Applied to interview or discussion of event or
    issue

37
Six Common Complaints about the Media
  • 1. They are ideologically biased.
  • 2. They are excessively cynical.
  • 3. They increasingly treat news as entertainment.
  • 4. They do a poor job of covering elections.
  • 5. They do a poor job of reporting election
    results.
  • 6. They complicate the task of governing by
    reporting stories based on leaks confidential
    government sources for classified information.

Lets examine these in greater detail
38
Evaluating the News Media
  • Ideological Bias
  • Is the Media bias in their reporting?
  • Ideological leanings in contrast to rest of
    nation?
  • Liberal or Conservative?
  • Focus of medias attention is current White House
    occupant
  • Both Bush and Clinton complained about coverage

39
Cynicism
  • A tendency of News Media to focus on what?
  • good news is?
  • watchdog vs. attack dog
  • Historical trends of News Media
  • Before and after Watergate gt
  • more vs. less trust
  • Media became more adversarial towards Gov.
    officials institutions
  • In past more likely to give office holders the
    benefit of doubt
  • Press avoided photos of FDR in wheel chair
  • Ignored rumors of JFKs infidelity
  • Clinton got no such slack
  • Nor President Bush re. reasons for Iraq War or
    lack of rapid Federal response to Katrina or
    progress in Iraq

40
News as Entertainment
  • Recent trends to treat news as entertainment
  • Why?
  • Competition for viewers is ? gt soft news
  • More viewers gt more TV ads gt more
  • If it bleeds it leadsgt
  • Resultgt interesting news over perhaps the more
    important

41
The News Media on the Campaign Trail
  • Major criticisms of News Medias
    campaign coverage Horse-race journalism gt
  • Focus whos in the lead?
  • (instead of the issues that matter)
  • Photo ops gt staged events easier to cover
  • Designed to flatter candidate provide TV images
  • Diminishing sound bite
  • A short excerpt from a persons speech or
    conversation that appears on radio or television
    news
  • News medias motive?
  • Result rehearsed Bumper-sticker responses during
    interviews on complex political issues

42
Length of Average Campaign Sound bite grows
shorter with time
Total number of seconds
Result?
43
Medias Response to Critics
  • Medias response
  • Allot marginally more time space to
    issues hard news
    about candidate
  • Candidates response to Medias response?
  • Bypass press speak directly to voters how?
  • Problem with bypassing professional news media?
  • Interviewers training or inclination to ask
    ?_____________
    questions as opposed to ?_________________________

44
Reporting Leaks
  • Who leaks and why? (four reasons)
  • 1. Move issue to political ?___________________
  • Administrations trial balloon or
  • Make public aware of sensitive info for

    either political or perceived ethical reasons
  • 2. Mobilize public opposition of burgeoning
    policy
  • 3. Send a message
  • 4. Damage a colleague
  • Do leaks jeopardize National Security?
  • Also a balance of priorities Freedom vs.
    Security
  • NTL leaks remain important journalistic tool
  • Its also useful to government as well

45
News Media Democracy Assessment
  • US News Media is far from perfect
  • Bias reporting slants do seep in
  • Reporters have become too cynical at times
  • Hard news looses out to soft news entertainment
  • Campaigns emphasize contest over content
  • Leaks often attempt to manipulate media coverage
  • Public even media freely criticize poor
    reporting
  • Motivates media to improve reform
  • Media remain vital component to democratic
    process
  • How else can people monitor their government?

46
Next Weeks Assignment (Week 7)
  • Tuesday Chapter 9 Political Parties
  • Learning Objectives 1-11
  • Thursday Chapter 10 Interest Groups
  • Learning Objectives 1- 8
  • Week 8
  • Tuesday Review Preparation (Quiz)
  • Thursday Midterm EXAM (MTX)
  • Reminder Submission of Thesis statement
    minimum of 4 sources due by Midterm Exam

47
The News Media KEY TERMS
  • Broadcast television Television stations that
    make their programming available over the
    airwaves without charge. Most local cable
    companies include broadcast television channels
    as part of their basic package of services.
  • Cable television Television programming not
    originally transmitted over the air, as with
    broadcast television, but rather carried via
    coaxial or fiber optic cable into the homes of
    people who pay a monthly fee.
  • Equal-time provision A federal law that
    stipulates that if a radio or television station
    gives or sells air time to a candidate for
    political office, it must provide all candidates
    for public office with access to the airwaves
    under the same conditions.
  • Fairness doctrine A regulation of the FCC
    adopted in 1949 and repealed in 1987. It required
    broadcasters to provide reasonable opportunities
    for the expression of opposing views on
    controversial issues of public importance.
  • Federal Communications Commission (FCC) An
    independent federal agency that regulates
    interstate and international communication by
    radio, television, telephone, telegraph, cable,
    and satellite.
  • Freedom of Information Act An act of Congress
    passed in 1966 that created a system through
    which anyone can petition the government to
    declassify secret documents.
  • Horse-race journalism News coverage of elections
    that focuses on which candidate is leading in the
    polls rather than on the substantive issues in
    the campaign.

48
G-8 Key Terms (2)
  • Leaks Confidential government information
    surreptitiously given to journalists.
  • Muckraking An early form of investigative
    journalism popular at the beginning of the
    twentieth century.
  • Objective press A form of journalism that took
    hold in the 1920s and which continues to
    predominate today. It emphasizes that journalists
    should strive to keep their opinions out of their
    coverage of the news.
  • Photo opportunities Events that political
    candidates and government officials stage to
    allow newspaper photographers and television news
    crews to take flattering photos.
  • Political agenda The list of issues that people
    think are important and that government officials
    are actively debating.
  • Pool reporting A system the Defense Department
    instituted in the 1980s for reporting from a
    combat zone during wartime. With pool reporting,
    military officials escort small groups of
    reporters when they interview American troops.
  • Selective perception A phenomenon in which
    people perceive the same event differently
    because they have different beliefs and personal
    experiences.
  • Sound bite A short excerpt from a persons
    speech or conversation that appears on radio or
    television news.
  • Spin control The practice of trying to persuade
    journalists to cover news stories in ways that
    put policies one likes in the most favorable
    light.
  • Talk radio Political talk shows on radio. Since
    the early 1990s, talk radio has emerged as an
    important force in American politics.
  • Yellow journalism A form of journalism, popular
    at the end of the nineteenth century, that
    emphasized sensational and sometimes lurid news
    coverage.

49
Back-up Slides
50
Cable TV
Television stations that make their programming
available over the airwaves without charge. Most
local cable companies include broadcast
television channels as part of their basic
package of services.
Television programming not originally transmitted
over the air, as with broadcast television, but
rather carried via coaxial or fiber optic cable
into the homes of people who pay a monthly fee.
51
Freedom of the Press- Electronic Media
Fairness Doctrine
A regulation the FCC adopted in 1949 and repealed
in 1987. It required broadcasters to provide
reasonable opportunities for the expression of
opposing views on controversial issues of public
importance.
Repealed in 1987- why?
Other Sources of info available - Cable TV
52
Reporting Election Results
  • Florida 2000 vote count - too close to call?
  • Calling it first calling it wrong why?
  • Over reliance on Exit Polls same pollster
  • Saving getting embarrassed in return
  • Impact of medias blunders on public confidence?
  • 65 those polled said media often inaccurate
  • Calls for change gt pressure on Media Congress
  • Network changes to Election Night reporting was
    better in 2004
  • Congressional actions held hearings proposed
    laws
  • Restraining exit polls gt harder to project
    winner
  • Uniform closing times of polls (practical
    problems?)
  • EST vs. Hawaiis (Time difference)
  • Also Potential for First Amendment challenges
  • Restrictions by Government on Political Speech?

53
Freedom of the Press
Freedom of Information Act
54
The Electronic Media Federal Regulation
  • Rationale for government regulation
  • Limited number of channels available
  • Public owns airwaves (so Government controls)
  • FCC role function
  • 1. Administer the rules regulating the electronic
    media
  • 2. Set technical standards for the industry (HD
    TV)
  • 3. License TV Radio (every 5-7 years review)
  • 4. Administer broadcast standardsgt
  • Station ID/hour, decency standards

55
Federal Communications Commission
FCC
An independent federal agency that regulates
interstate and international communication by
radio, television, telephone, telegraph, cable,
and satellite.
Other Government regulations affecting electronic
media?
56
Freedom of the Press- Electronic Media
Equal Time Provision
A federal law that stipulates that if a radio or
television station gives or sells air time to a
candidate for political office, it must provide
all candidates for public office with access to
the airwaves under the same conditions.
57
Congressional Constraints on FCC
  • US government cannot regulate content
  • In contrast to media in other countriesgt
  • US media enjoys much more freedom
  • Federal law forbids FCC from censorship
    activities
  • (Within established decency standards)
  • Free Speech Press alive well so far

Now lets examine how the Media reports the News
gt
58
Libby, 56, was convicted in March of obstructing
justice, perjury and making false statements to
investigators probing the 2003 leak of Central
Intelligence Agency agent Valerie Plame's
identity.
59
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