Unit 3: Mass Media, Political Parties and Interest Groups Pages 222-236 Reporting the News
Reporting the News • News reporting is a business in America. • Journalists define what is newsworthy based on the profits that will result from their stories…money, fame, awards, etc.
Finding the News • Beats – specific locations from which news often emanates, such as Congress. • 1991 Gulf War – more than 50% of the lead stories on TV came from the White House, Pentagon and State Department beats. • Trial Balloons – information that is leaked to see what the political reaction will be. (Monica Lewinsky and Bill Clinton)
Symbolic Relationships and Investigated Reporting • Reporters and their official sources have a symbolic relationship. • Newsmakers rely on journalists to get their message out at the same time that reporters rely on the public officials to keep them in the know. • Also good examples of investigative reporting making government and politicians take a long hard look at what is really going on in America including the environment and the population.
Presenting the News • Sound bites – short video clips of approx. 15 seconds; typically all that is shown from a politician’s speech or activities on the nightly TV news. • “Rather than presenting their audience with the whole chicken, the media typically give just the McNugget.
Biased in the News • Most reporters strongly believe in journalistic objectivity, and those who practice it best are usually rewarded by their editors. • In addition, media outlets have a direct financial stake in attracting viewers and subscribers and do not want to lose their audience by appearing biased. • Different than MSNBC and Fox News.
Talking Head • A person’s face talking directly to the camera. Because this is visually unappealing, the major commercial networks rarely show a politician talking one-on-one for very long.
Policy Agenda and Entrepreneurs • Policy Agenda – “the list of subjects or problems to which government officials, and people outside the government closely associated with those officials, are paying some serious attention at any given time” – • Policy Entrepreneurs – people that invest their political “capital” in an issue.