In-Class Assignment #2 (15 minutes) • Discuss your blog post in groups of 3 • What news do you consume? From where? How much? Why? • Do you think entertainment can be considered news sometimes? • How often do you talk about news with others? • How can you improve your news diet?
Bennett’s Information Biases • Personalization • Dramatization • Fragmentation • Authority-disorder • Compared to a political bias, these 4 biases are: • Deep • Systematic • Less Obvious • Costly • Difficult to overcome • May hinder intellectual debate and criticism
Personalization • News downplays big social, economic, or political stories • News favors personalized, human-interest, and surface stories • Focus on personalities and the power players, not issues • Why? • Easier than an investigative risky probe into an issue • Alternative is “institutional” • Example of Personalization: • http://www.cnn.com/2010/POLITICS/08/30/glenn.beck.rally.monday/index.html?hpt=C2 • Using Beck to personify a trend without digging into his past, his motivations, his agenda; little issues mentioned
Dramatization • Focus on crisis rather than continuity • Focus on the present rather than past or future • Infotainment • Alternative is “analytical” frame • Example of Dramatized News: • http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/08/29/president-says-hes-worried-muslim-rumors/ • No mention of “why” this is the case
Fragmentation • Stories are not connected to each other over time since each is self-contained • Hard to see the big picture • Alternative is “historical” • Example of Fragmented News: • http://www.foxnews.com/world/2010/08/29/mayor-violent-mexican-border-state-assassinated/ • No mention of related stories or links to learn more about the drug war
Authority-Disorder Bias • Politicians come out to calm the public in troubling times saying they’ll return order • News sometimes support claims of return to order by authorities • Example: 9/11 coverage • Generally positive government coverage. Why? • News sometimes challenges authority’s ability to restore order • Example: Hurricane Katrina coverage • Generally negative government coverage. Why?
Good Coverage • http://www.cnn.com/2010/TECH/innovation/08/30/gulf.dead.zone.minnesota.farm/index.html?hpt=C1 • http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/americas/08/26/mine.disasters.survivors/index.html?hpt=C2 • Why and how would I categorize these stories as good coverage? • Do you agree or disagree with me? • Do you see any biases?
News ContentBennett, Ch. 2 Wed. Sept. 1, 2010
The Effects of the 4 Biases • Distraction from potentially important causes of problems • Egocentric, rather than socially concerned view, of social problems • Blame individuals, not institutions • Lack of shared critical understandings of issues • Promotion of dramatically satisfying but practically unworkable solutions
An Argument For Political Bias In News Bennett argues that the presence of a political bias in the news media is small. Let’s examine other evidence…
The Political Content of News:Journalists’ Perspectives • CBS reporter Bernard Goldberg in 1996 • “The old argument that the networks and other media elites have a liberal bias is so blatantly true that it’s hardly worth discussing anymore. No, we don’t sit around in dark corners and plan strategies on how we’re going to slant the news. We don’t have to. It comes naturally to most reporters.”
The Political Content of News:Journalists’ Perspectives • ABC (now Fox News) reporter Brit Hume regarding 1992 campaign • “During critical periods in this one, anti-Bush media sentiment was obvious and dominant… The media’s defenders argue that, after the rough treatment Bill Clinton got on the Gennifer Flowers case and his draft record, no one can say he was treated favorably. But he was.”
Allegations of Bias From Both Sides On the Right On the Left • Media Research Center • Journalists are more liberal than public. • Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting • Media conglomerates promote conservative and status-quo agendas.
Journalist’s vs. Public’sPolitical Attitudes Data from Media Studies/Roper Center study in Nov./Dec. 1995.
The Political Content of News: Summarizing Partisan News Bias • Meta-analysis (D’Allesio & Allen, 2000) of partisan bias on TV news, newspapers, and news magazines indicates: • No evidence of consistent gatekeeping bias • No evidence of consistent coverage bias • No evidence of consistent statement bias in newspapers • Small bias in favor of Democrats and liberals on network TV news • Small bias in favor of Republicans in news magazines
In-Class Assignment #3 • Individual Writing Activity • Consider the follow questions: • Do you think the findings have changed since this research was published? • Do you think it exists? • Is it widespread? • Does it exist more in certain media or channels? • Can you think of any specific examples of stories or events that exhibited political bias? • What conversations have you had in the past with people about this topic? • What do your parents and friends think?
News ContentBennett, Ch. 2 Fri. Sept. 3, 2010
The Good News About Blog Posts • Conversational style • Engaging stories • Willingness to admit news diets need improvement
Tips to Improve Blog Posts • Google your name in quotes • Your blog comes up, so proofread for spelling, grammar, and capitalization • Create an “about” page • Change the tagline • Delete the “Hello, World” post • Try experimenting with links and images • Demonstration • Remember to read instructions and grading rubric carefully before posting • Avoid run-on sentences • Sentences should not be 4 or 5 lines long
Blog Post #2 • See http://klandreville.wordpress.com/cojo-2480-politics-media/ for Blog Post #2 instructions, tips, and grading rubric • No sample post this time • See previous lecture slides in this file for examples of each of Bennett’s 4 information biases
In-Class Assignment #4 • Assignment on Bennett’s 4 Biases • Work individually • 10 minutes
Other Types of Bias Moving beyond partisan bias and Bennett’s 4 biases
Iyengar’s (1991) “Framing Bias” • Episodic framing • TV news is primarily episodic • produces beliefs that individuals are responsible for social problems • Thematic framing • claim NP and mags are primarily thematic • produces beliefs that society/gov’t is responsible
The Anti-Incumbent Bias • Why? • Incumbent has record to criticize • Graber’s study of tone of coverage • Some bias against Bush/Quayle in 1992 • Bias favored Clinton/Gore in 1996 • Findings consistent with claim eventual winner gets best coverage
Horserace Bias • Defining horserace • Focus on polls, strategy, endorsements, gossip, image, personality • Less coverage on issues
Implications • Cynicism and apathy • Issue knowledge • Viability of candidates
For Next Time… • No Class Mon. 9/6 • Wed. 9/8 Blog Post #2 Due • For Wed. 9/8 Class: • Read Bennett Ch. 3 • Next 3 Lectures on Citizens & the News