AP Gov Media Bias Project Essay - 734 Words - …

Mass Media Review: AP US Government Crash Course

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As an egalitarian doctrine, where everyone’s happiness counts equally, the rational, relatively straightforward nature of utilitarianism offers an attractive model for democratic government.

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Why or why not?
How does this apply to our world today?

Newspapers and magazines
Yellow Journalism - sensational headlines that grab the readers attention; do not let the truth get in the way of writing a good story (Pulitzer, Hearst)
Chains - newspapers published by massive media conglomerates that account for almost 75% of the nation's daily circulation
the broadcast media has gradually displaced print media as Americans' principal source of news
1930's - radio
1950's - 1960's - 'adolescent years' for American TV
Nixon's rise and fall due to media (1952 and 1960)
TV's affect on the American people during Vietnam Era
Defining the News
News is what is timely and different
"It is a man biting a dog, not a dog biting a man."
A business in America in which profits shape how journalists define what is newsworthy, where they get their information, and how they present it
TV News -- what is entertaining to the audience
Finding the News
Beats - specific locations from which news often emanates (example - Pentagon, State Dept., White House, ---- 50%)
Trial balloons - information leaked to see what the political reaction will be (Clinton-Lewinsky relationship)
A symbiotic relationship
Let's look at an example...
Reporters have been assigned to US military units in the region of Iraq and given unprecedented access to military action and personnel.

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Changing Times
Events of Vietnam and Watergate soured relationship between the press and government
Today's media -- cynicism
Want to get the truth, often punish those in power
Investigative Journalism: the use of detective like reporting methods to unearth scandals
Public's fondness of this had led to public cynicism towards government
Print Media
Broadcast Media
The Influence of Cable
Bringing news as it happens
Criticized for lack of in-depth coverage
Narrow casting - Stations target narrow audiences
Allows those who want to get news to get it quick and easy
Whoever wants to avoid the news can
Broadens gap between informed citizenry and the apathetic
III.

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As long as the newspapers, internet, network television, etc, continued to be easily accessible to the public, the media will continue to have an influence in shaping its opinions.

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Media's Agenda Setting Function
Policy agenda -- issues that attract the serious attention of public officials and other people actively involved in politics at that time
Political activists depend heavily on the media to get their message across
often called policy entrepreneurs -- people who invest their political capital on an issue
Political activists have weapons:
Press conferences
Press releases
Letter writing
Resorting to staging dramatic events
Are not always monopolized by the political elite -- poor and downtrodden have access too
Conveying a long term positive image via the media is more important than a few dramatic events
VII.

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Understanding the Mass Media
"No major act of the American Congress, no foreign adventure, no act of diplomacy, no great social reform can succeed unless the press prepares the public mind."
Media and the Scope of Government
Media's watchdog functions helps to restrict politicians
Watchdog function -- neither liberal nor conservative; reformist
Focus on reform inevitably encourages enlarging the scope of government
Once media IDs an issue, asks what the government is doing about it
Individualism in the Media
Rise of TV broadcasting has reinforced and furthered individualism in the American political process
Less need for political parties and social groups to make their decisions -- able to see candidates up close and personal
Parties have declined and candidate personality is more important than ever
60% of media coverage -- devoted to president
31% to Congress
Supreme Court -- no cameras allowed
Information is the fuel of democracy.