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Mass Media PowerPoint Presentation

Mass Media

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Mass Media

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Presentation Transcript

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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…

  4. 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

  5. If It Bleeds, It Leads

  6. 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

  7. Bias • Ideological bias • Claim that there is a liberal bias in the media • Many in media are liberal (tend to vote Democratic) • 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”

  8. Bias • 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 Cinema • 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

  9. 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 news • 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 preferences)

  10. Framing • 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 respond • 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, etc. • Those who were exposed to individual frames more likely to blame individuals • Oppose social welfare programs

  11. Priming • 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 public • Evaluate Bush, they do so based on war, rather than economy or taxes