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Importance of Media in the New American Democracy

Importance of Media in the New American Democracy

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Importance of Media in the New American Democracy

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  1. Importance of Media in the New American Democracy • Representative democracy • Citizens need to know • Events Media  News • Tree falling in the forest • News shapes public opinion • Need to “make news” shapes government’s activities • Inevitable concern about Bias and Accountability

  2. Bias in Historical Context • Party Newspapers • Federalists, Gazette of the United State • Jeffersonians, National Gazette • Funded by government contracts, print information party elites want citizens to hear

  3. Penny Press • Emergence of independent press • “News is information about public life that sells.” • Muckraking, sensationalism • Increase in corporate ownership

  4. TV, Radio & Internet • 99% of houses have TV • 65% cable • 75% use internet

  5. Primary Source of News • Newspapers only 10% • TV and newspapers 22% • TV only 55% • Evening News audience declined 30% since 1980s • But 50 million in audience each night

  6. Most Credible Source of News • Radio 5% • Magazines 5% • Newspapers 19% • Television 58%

  7. 3 Potential Sources of Bias • Ideological bias of reporters/editors • Professional/selection bias of reporters • Profit bias of corporate owners

  8. Liberal Media Bias

  9. Liberal Media Bias Hypothesis • Journalists' views are to the left of the public, • Elite Journalists are out of touch with mainstream American values (Bernard Goldberg- "Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News” ) • "How many members of the Los Angeles Times and St. Louis Post-Dispatch belong to the American Legion or the Kiwanis or go to prayer breakfasts?” • Journalists frame news content in a way that accentuates these left perspectives. • AIDS Victim- white housewife w/bad blood transfusion

  10. 1992 Survey Are journalists' political behavior to the left of the public?

  11. On __ issues, how would you characterize your political orientation? Are journalists' political views to the left of the public?

  12. “Liberal Media”?

  13. Are DC Media Elitists?

  14. I Report, You DecideWho is the “Ultra-Conservative”? Who is the “Moderate”? • Gary Bauer • Pro-life • Anti SS privatization & free trade, Pro minimum wage • Christie Todd Whitman • Pro-choice • Pro SS privatization & free trade, Anti minimum wage

  15. Professional/selection bias of reporters • Professional Criteria for Newsworthiness • Drama, color, simplicity

  16. Long Island News Experiment • How to tell an “unemployment is increasing” story? • Framing • Causal Iyengar and Kinder, Experimental demonstrations of the “not-so-minimal” consequences of television news programs, American Political Science Review, 1982

  17. Systemic Explanations • National trend in increasing unemployment

  18. Individual Explanations • unemployed auto worker in Ohio

  19. Framing (cont) • What is the most important cause of poverty • Systemic Framing viewers • 78% say (the recession) or government and society (references to Reagan’s policies) • Individual Framing viewers • 62% say motivation (laziness) or skills

  20. Implications of Framing • Individual frames encourage people to hold individual responsible for the situation they are in • Systemic frames encourage people to hold the public officials responsible.

  21. Media Poor People • CBS News • 66% black, 34% non-black • 15% working, 85% non working -unemployed New Orleans youth, Newsweek

  22. Real Poor People • US Census • 29% black, 71% non-black • 51% work, 49% non-working

  23. Policy Consequences of Selection Bias • Media Poor- black and unemployed • Real Poor- white and working • Surveys 50% of all poor people are black

  24. 3 Potential Sources of Bias • Ideological bias of reporters/editors • Professional/selection bias of reporters • Profit bias of corporate owners

  25. Competition • 1960- 7 channels; today 500+ • more ways to obtain news or avoid it. • Changing demographics • 24-hour-a-day cable news • viewers harder to attract

  26. ABC TV/Radio, ESPN, E!, Lifetime, A&E, History, Touchstone AOL, Warner Bros, Time Warner Cable, TBS, CNN, HBO, the WB, Turner Broadcasting NBC, CNBC, MSNBC, Telemundo, Bravo Fox TV, SKY, START, Weekly Standard, Tech Valley Guide, New York Post CBS, MTV, BET, Showtime, Infinity Radio,

  27. Impact on News • Shift in Business Model • Profitability > Reporting • Ratings driven • FCC scraps “Public Service Requirement”

  28. Declining Amount of News • Government news stories on "ABC World News Tonight" dropped from 40.2% of all stories in 1977 to 15.9% in 1997 • In 1997, Time Magazine, ¼ the number of government stories as in 1977

  29. Less Coverage of Government • Department of Veteran's Affairs, 2 reporters • Interior Department, not 1 reporter • Full time Wisconsin state government reporters, 24 in 1972, 12 in 1996

  30. Big Increase in Soft News • consumer oriented - health, business, and technology • Why

  31. “Spectacle Stories”

  32. BTK: Out Of The Shadows48 Hours

  33. Dateline

  34. Primetime Live • Are Your Kids Fans of 'Ultimate Fighting'?

  35. 48 Hours • Bad Girls What would drive well-educated suburban girls to become armed robbers? 48 Hours looks at the case of four Texas teen-agers charged after a robbery spree last year. (Dec. 28, • Dead Men Tell No Tales Tommy Lynn Sells claims he's killed scores of people over the past 18 years. And as 48 Hours reports, it was a 10-year-old girl that helped bring him to justice.

  36. Dateline • Actor leading the fight for a cure for Parkinson’s disease • Conjoined twins Kathleen and Charity Lincoln undergo a risky operation. • Breaking away Follow four families as they struggle to move out of the housing projects. Maria Shriver reports in this Special Interactive Documentary

  37. Is Soft News Bad?

  38. Soft News

  39. The Next Leader of the Free World? •

  40. Will the internet revitalize democracy and increase the voice of citizens in political affairs? Why or why not? What are the potential advantages and disadvantages of this medium over traditional media sources like television?

  41. Can the Internet improve our democratic system and remove the problems of media bias? How? In what ways could it threaten or undermine our democratic system?

  42. Politics in Cyberspace • Will new technologies revive democratic politics? • “Offer a means of reestablishing the connection between voters and candidates” email, chat room • “dramatically change the quality of information readily available to voters”, wide spectrum of political groups • CNN et al will develop multimedia sites devoted to political coverage • More “unmediated sources of information”

  43. Politics in Cyberspace • Will new technologies revive democratic politics? • Will reduce the cost of political contributions .. Open the electoral process to groups and candidates who have traditionally been priced out of the political market • Voters will have more candidates to choose from • Will make it easier to participate via email • Easier to do fund raising

  44. Politics in Cyberspace • Concerns • Fair and equitable access, certain segments of the electorate may be disadvantaged • Requires a high level of motivation • Rise of formal and informal neo-intermediaries • • •

  45. Being an intelligent citizen • Newspapers • Magazines • Commercial orientation of networks

  46. The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) aims to organize a majority consituency of low- to moderate-income people across the United States. The members of ACORN take on issues of relevance to their communities, whether those issues are discrimination, affordable housing, a quality education, or better public services. ACORN believes that low- to moderate-income people are the best advocates for their communities, and so ACORN's low- to moderate-income members act as leaders, spokespeople, and decision-makers within the organization.

  47. Media PowerAgenda Setting and Framing • Agenda Setting- media don’t tell people what to think, but what to think about. Public concerns about issues is shaped by what the media covers or not. • Frames- “persistent patterns of cognition, interetation, and presentation, of selection, emphasis, and exclusion, by which symbol-handlers routinely organize discourse, whether verbal or visual.” Gitlin • frame shape what or how people think. • Iraq is framed as part of war on terror.

  48. Putting Acorn on the Public Agenda • • Figure 1