Chapter #19Mass Media and the Internet Section #1How Media Impact Government
The mass media includes all the means for communicating information to the general public • 2 types of Mass Media • Print Media- such as daily newspaper and magazine • Broadcast Media- Radio/ television/ internet
The relationship between the media and US government is complex- they need to work together but often have differences • Politicians- they need media to get their name out and help reach their goals
The President and the Media • Both benefits from each other- the President is a great source of news and the news helps people “see his ideas” • Before the TV the President used the radio to get messages out (FDR fireside chats) • TV politics really began with the JFK/ Nixon Debates
News Releases and Briefings • A government news release is a readymade story prepared by officials that work for the President. • News briefings- a government official makes an announcement or explains a policy, a decision, or an action- they answer questions • Press Conferences- involve the media questioning of a high government official.
Other Means of Sharing Information • Backgrounders- president or top official will give the media important pieces of information- reporters can use the story but cannot give away the sources. • Top Officials also leak and release top secret info on purpose (Ex- expose corruption)
Media Events • Media Events- an event designed to reinforce the president’s position on an issue • Media and Presidential Campaigns • 1952- First Presidential Campaign advertisement: Eisenhower vs. Adlei Stevenson
Identifying Candidates • Presidents must have a pleasing appearance, strong features, and a good speaking voice • TV gives unknown exposure • TV has encouraged celebrities to run for office
The Presidential Nominating Process • The presses have changed elections because they choose what candidates to cover and who to declare the front runner- this gives candidates a big lead in popularity and money donations • Campaign Advertising • Pre 1900- parades, speeches • 1900- Newspapers and magazines • 1924- Radio Campaigning • 1952-TV
Financing TV Advertising- candidates rely on fundraising efforts for the huge fees • Congress and the Media- Media also cover the House and Senate • Every member of Congress has a press secretary to prepare press releases and arrange interviews
What Media covers in Congress • Confirmation Hearings • Oversight Activities- scandals and investigations • Personal Business- the media also looks for scandals in personal business of Congress • C-Span television- coverage of Senate debates
The Court and the Media • Mass Media is used to tell people about Supreme Court Decisions • The Supreme Court receives the least amount of coverage after the President and Congress. • Why? • Remoteness of Supreme Court Judges- they are appointed so they don’t need publicity • Technical Issues- Many SC issues do not interest a lot of people
Setting the Public agenda • The media plays an important role in discussing issues and getting them out to the public (Wars, homeless, healthcare) • Networks and the Media-they cover what will market the bigger audiences and give ratings (EX- scandal over federal budget) • Attitudes and Values- The media has a basic effect on political attitudes and values- give negative or positive effect on people
Chapter #19Section #2Regulating Print and Broadcast Media • Protecting the Media • 1st Amendments says freedom of the press- means that print media are free from prior restraint (government Censorship) of information before it is published
Libel- Freedom of the Press is not absolute- false written statements are called libel. • Libel- can damage people’s reputation or career • However, it is a very hard for a government official to win a libel suit because there is no law against criticizing the government.
The Right to Gather Information • The Right of Access- the press has gone to the court many times to get info from the federal government- the results have been mixed • High Courts usually side with the government • Lower Courts usually side with the press • Protection of Sources- Reporters often need secret informants when investigating government officials, political radicals, and criminals
People do not want to be named in public when giving information • Shield Laws- many states have these to protect reporters from having to reveal their sources
Regulating Broadcast Media • In US most mass media are private, money making businesses- subject to some government regulation • FCC (Federal Communications Commission 1934)- regulates all communications- phone, television, ect,- they make rules that require stations to operate in the public’s interest. • Content Regulations- The FCC can fine stations and threaten to shut them down if they don’t follow rules
Requirements have changed over the years- one change was the removal of the fairness doctrine- it required broadcasters to provide airtime to both sides of a controversial issue • Ownership Regulation- The FCC will only let people own so many radio stations or have control of both newspapers and radio or TV in the same market- they don’t want anyone to have too much control • Telecommunications Act of 1996- law ended and relaxed many limits on media ownership- Company could own no more that 35% of the national market • The goal was to increase competition- however, it did the opposite
Media and National Security • Sometimes government has to limit media in time of war for national security protection • Military intelligence is top secret so the government has to control this information
Chapter #19Section#3The Internet and Democracy • The internet offers several distinct benefits for politics and government • Widespread Audience- the web is rapidly growing and has the dominant audience • Interactivity- The internet is interactive- you can respond back, cant with TV, radio, newspaper • Global Scope- the internet is a worldwide collection of websites and computer services that is accessible to people all around the world
Gathering Information • Political Websites- Many websites offer partisan ideas- meaning that they only support one point of view • Tracking Legislation- Website THOMAS provides the public with access to federal legislation • Electronic Mailing Lists- Automatic email notifications that inform people on current topics. • E-government- provided services and info over the internet • Grassroot websites- individuals starting their own independent websites on politics • Volunteering- donate time and effort to an election • Political Blogs- online journals • Electronic voting- there has been a push for this to replace current ways of voting
Challenges to Public Policy • The Rise of Technology- creates a need for new laws to deal with the impact of politics • Offensive Content- led to the 1998 Child Online Protection Act- this law orders website operators to require an adult identification device such as a credit card, before granting access to material that could be considered harmful to minor. • Taxing E-Commerce- internet has led to the sale of goods and services online- because of this states have pushed to tax online sales but the Supreme Court has blocked attempts thus far.