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Mass Media


Rising claim of conservative bias as well. Fox News obviously has conservative slant ' ... News Corporation Fox, NY Post, London Times ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Mass Media

Mass Media
  • Functions of the media
  • Transmit political information from political
    actors to the public
  • Gatekeeping
  • Media makes decisions about what is news, and for
    how long
  • Watchdog function
  • Informal check in our political system
  • Media allows the public to keep tabs on behavior
    of elected officials
  • Expand scope of an issue
  • More media attention leads to higher levels of
    public knowledge about issue
  • This leads to more pressure on politicians

Problems with the Media
  • Agenda setting Blurs perceptions
  • The media tells up what to think about by
    covering some issues, and ignoring others
  • Bias
  • Ideological bias
  • Corporate bias
  • Media not accessible to everyone
  • Priming
  • Framing

Media Agenda Setting
  • Agenda setting
  • The decision to cover any event or issue
    necessarily means that other issues are more
    unlikely to be covered, even if those issues are
    arguably more important
  • Newshole is limited by various constraints
  • Time
  • Space
  • Pressure to cover the sensational…

Media Blurs Perceptions
  • If it bleeds, it leads
  • When asked about the crime rate, most respondents
    vastly overestimate overall crime rate, and more
    particularly violent crime rate
  • Since 1990, murder coverage increased over 500
    while real world homicide rates dropped over 40
  • 1999 Lowest crime rate of decade, but 511
    homicide stories
  • 1991- Higher crime rate than in 1999, but fewer
    than 100 homicide stories on major 4 networks

If It Bleeds, It Leads
Examples of Agenda setting
  • Experiment 1 News stories about defense
  • Group A Stories about weakness in defense
  • Group B No stories about defense
  • Group A participants much more likely to cite
    defense as a major problem facing nation
  • Experiment 2 Various news stories
  • Group A Stories about defense
  • Group B Stories about pollution
  • Group C No added stories
  • Participants cited defense, pollution,
    depending on what stories they were exposed to

  • Ideological bias
  • Claim that there is a liberal bias in the media
  • Many in media are liberal (tend to vote
  • Higher percentage of liberals in national media
  • Rising claim of conservative bias as well
  • Fox News obviously has conservative slant
  • Misperceptions, the Media, and the Iraq War

  • Corporate Bias - corporate owners of media
    outlets might unduly influence news content
  • Disney ? ABC, ESPN
  • Time Warner-AOL ? CNN, TBS, TNT, HBO, Time,
    Sports Illustrated, People, Entertainment Weekly,
    Fortune, Money, Warner Brothers., New Line
  • General Electric, RCA, and Westinghouse ? NBC,
    CNBC, MSNBC, History Channel
  • VIACOM ? CBS, MTV, VH1, BET, TNN, UPN, Comedy
    Central, Showtime, TMC, Nickelodeon, Paramount
  • News Corporation ? Fox, NY Post, London Times
  • Conflict between desire of journalists to report
    news and corporations desire to maintain
    business interests

Media not accessible to everyone
  • While most newspapers and TV news are presented
    at basic level, there are high start-up costs
    that disadvantage many
  • Terms used often over the head of those with low
    political knowledge
  • Without basic knowledge about politics, and often
    the issue at hand, many cannot understand the
  • Saying that a Democratic challenger to the
    incumbent is much more liberal is only
    informative if you understand ideologies
    (including how they match up with your own

  • The way that the media presents a story
  • Can affect who we blame for a particular problem,
    which affects how we think the government should
  • Individual vs. societal frames
  • Poverty experiment
  • Those who were exposed to societal frames more
    likely to blame society for high poverty levels
  • More likely to support welfare, food stamps,
  • Those who were exposed to individual frames more
    likely to blame individuals
  • Oppose social welfare programs

  • Prominence of stories in the media can affect the
    standards by which we judge political leaders
  • Bush overall approval rating 71
  • Approval of handling of economy 49
  • Approval of handling of taxes 52
  • Approval of handling war in Iraq 71
  • Overwhelming coverage of the war is priming the
  • Evaluate Bush, they do so based on war, rather
    than economy or taxes