Chapter six: the mass media and the political agenda



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Chapter 6

CHAPTER SIX: THE MASS MEDIA AND THE POLITICAL AGENDA


PEDAGOGICAL FEATURES

p. 202 Figure 6.1: The Decline of Newspaper Circulation

p. 204 Issues of the Times: Will Young People Go For a Different Kind of News?

p. 207 Table 6.1: Spending Time with the News

p. 209 Making a Difference: Matt Drudge

p. 212 How You Can Make A Difference: The Internet and Political

Action

p. 213 Figure 6.2: The Incredible Shrinking Soundbite

p. 215 You Are the Policymaker: Should the Networks Have to Provide Free Air Time to Presidential Candidates?

p. 218 Table 6.2: Stories Citizens Have Tuned In and Stories They Have Tuned Out

p. 223 Real People on the Job: Pam Fessler

p. 224 Get Connected

p. 224 Internet Resources



p. 224 For Further Reading


LEARNING OBJECTIVES

After studying this chapter, students should be able to:


  • Trace the development of the mass media and the way in which presidents have used the media in different periods of our history.




  • Examine how the mass media are a key part of a new era of high-tech politics.




  • Determine how journalists define what is newsworthy, where they get their information, and how they present it.




  • Ascertain the major sources that people rely on for their information about politics.




  • Explain the role that the profit motive plays in decisions by the mass media on how to report the news.




  • Examine and analyze the charge that the media have a liberal bias.




  • Identify factors that would explain why the news is typically characterized by political neutrality.




  • Clarify how the media act as key linkage institutions between the people and the policymakers.




  • Indicate how some functions of the media may help to keep government small and others may encourage the growth of government.




  • Describe how the rise of television broadcasting has encouraged individualism in the American political system.




  • Explain why the rise of the “information society” has not brought about a corresponding rise of an “informed society.”




  • Summarize how the news and its presentation are important influences in shaping public opinion on political issues, particularly in terms of agenda setting.


CHAPTER OVERVIEW

INTRODUCTION
The American political system has entered a new period of high-tech politics in which the behavior of citizens and policymakers, as well as the political agenda itself, is increasingly shaped by technology. The mass media are a key part of that technology. Television, radio, newspapers, magazines, and other means of popular communication are called mass media because they reach out and profoundly influence not only the elites but the masses. This chapter describes the historical development of the mass media as it relates to news coverage of government and politics. Questions regarding how news is defined, how it is presented, and what impact it has in politics are also addressed.
THE MASS MEDIA TODAY
Modern political success depends upon control of the mass media. Image making does not stop with the campaign. Politicians have learned that one way to guide the media’s focus successfully is to limit what they can report on to carefully scripted events. A media event is staged primarily for the purpose of being covered. It is also a critical element in day-to-day governing because politicians’ images in the press are seen as good indicators of their clout. A large part of today’s so-called 30-second presidency is the slickly produced TV commercial.
THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE MASS MEDIA
The daily newspaper is largely a product of the late nineteenth century, while radio and television have been around only since the first half of the twentieth century. As recently as the presidency of Herbert Hoover (1929-1933), reporters submitted their questions to the president in writing, and he responded in writing (if at all). Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933-1945) was the first president to use the media effectively. Roosevelt held about 1,000 press conferences in his 12 years in the White House and broadcast a series of “fireside chats” over the radio to reassure the nation during the Great Depression.
At the time of Roosevelt’s administration, the press had not yet started to report on a political leader’s public life. The events of the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal soured the press on government. Today’s newspeople work in an environment of cynicism; the press sees ferreting out the truth as their job since they believe that politicians rarely tell the whole story. Investigative journalism—the use of detective-like reporting methods to unearth scandals—pits reporters against political leaders. This chapter notes that there is evidence that TV’s fondness for investigative journalism has contributed to greater public cynicism and negativism about politics.
Scholars distinguish between two kinds of media: the print media, which include newspapers and magazines, and the broadcast media, which consist of television and radio. Each has reshaped political communication at different points in American history.
The first American daily newspaper was printed in Philadelphia in 1783, but daily newspapers did not become common until the technological advances of the mid-nineteenth century. Ever since the rise of TV news, however, newspaper circulation rates have been declining.
The broadcast media have gradually displaced the print media as Americans’ principal source of news and information. As a form of technology, television is almost as old as radio; the first television station appeared in 1931. Nevertheless, the 1950s and 1960s were the developmental years for American television. The first televised presidential debates were the 1960 Kennedy-Nixon debates. The poll results from this debate illustrate the visual power of television in American politics: Whereas people listening to the radio gave the edge to Nixon, those who saw it on television thought Kennedy won.
Television took the nation to the war in Vietnam during the 1960s, and TV exposed governmental naïveté (some said it was outright lying) about the progress of the war. With the growth of cable TV, particularly the Cable News Network (CNN), television has entered a new era of bringing news to people (and to political leaders) as it happens. Since 1963, surveys have consistently shown that more people rely on TV for the news than any other medium; and by a regular two-to-one margin, people think television reports are more believable than newspaper stories.
In 1934, Congress created the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to regulate the use of airwaves. Today, the FCC regulates communications via radio, television, telephone, cable, and satellite. The FCC is an independent regulatory body, but in practice it is subject to many political pressures. Congress uses its control over the purse strings of the agency to influence the commission, and presidential appointments to it are naturally made with political considerations in mind. The FCC has regulated the airwaves in three important ways: it has instituted rules to limit the number of stations owned or controlled by one company; the FCC conducts periodic examinations of the goals and performance of stations as part of its licensing authority; the FCC has issued a number of fair treatment rules concerning access to the airwaves for political candidates and office holders.
One of the main reasons America has such a rich diversity of media sources is that journalism has long been big business in the United States, with control of virtually all media outlets being in private hands. Private ownership of the media, as well as the First Amendment right to free speech, has long meant that American journalists have an unfettered capacity to criticize government leaders and policies. Although the American media is free and independent when it come to journalistic content, they are totally dependent on advertising revenues to keep their businesses going.
With the increase in cable channels and Internet usage, a recent trend has been the increase in “broadcast” channels that are oriented toward particularly narrow audiences, often referred to as narrowcasting. Today’s massive media conglomerates control newspapers with 78 percent of the nation’s daily circulation. These chains often control television and radio stations as well.

REPORTING THE NEWS
News reporting is a business in America in which profits shape how journalists define what is newsworthy, where they get their information, and how they present it. To a large extent, TV networks define news as what is entertaining to the average viewer.
A surprising amount of news comes from well-established sources. Most news organizations assign their best reporters to particular beats—specific locations where news frequently emanates from, such as Congress. Very little of the news is generated by spontaneous events or a reporter’s own analysis. Most stories are drawn from situations over which newsmakers have substantial control.
TV news is little more than a headline service. With exceptions like the MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour (PBS) and Nightline (ABC), analysis of news events rarely lasts more than a minute. At the same time, complex issues—like nuclear power, the nation’s money supply, and pollution—are difficult to treat in a short news clip.
Over the last decade, politicians have found it increasingly difficult to get their messages covered on the major networks, as ratings pressures have led to a decrease in political coverage, leaving the field to the much-less watched channels like CNN and MSNBC. The charge that the media have a liberal bias has become a familiar one in American politics, and there is some limited evidence to support it. Reporters are more likely to call themselves liberal than the general public, and more journalists identify themselves as Democrats than Republicans. However, there is little reason to believe that journalists’ personal attitudes sway their reporting of the news. Most stories are presented in a “point/counterpoint” format in which two opposing points of view are presented.
A conclusion that news reporting contains little explicit partisan or ideological bias is not to argue that it does not distort reality in its coverage. Ideally, the news should mirror reality. In practice, there are too many potential stories for this to be the case. Journalists must select which stories to cover and to what degree. Due to economic pressures, the media are biased in favor of stories with high drama that will attract people’s interest (rather than extended analyses of complex issues). Television is particularly biased toward stories that generate good pictures.
THE NEWS AND PUBLIC OPINION
There is evidence that the news and its presentation are important in shaping public opinion about political issues. The decision to cover or to ignore certain issues can affect public opinion. By focusing public attention on specific problems, the media influence the criteria by which the public evaluates political leaders.
Much remains unknown about the effects of the media and the news on American political behavior. Enough is known, however, to conclude that media is a key political institution. The media control much of the technology that in turn controls much of what Americans believe about politics and government.
THE MEDIA’S AGENDA-SETTING FUNCTION
As was explained in Chapter 1, people are trying to influence the government’s policy agenda when they confront government officials with problems they expect them to solve. Interest groups, political parties, politicians, public relations firms, and bureaucratic agencies are all pushing for their priorities to take precedence over others. Political activists (often called policy entrepreneurs—people who invest their political “capital” in an issue) depend heavily upon the media to get their ideas placed high on the governmental agenda.
The staging of political events to attract media attention is a political art form. Important political events are orchestrated minute by minute with an eye on American TV audiences. Moreover, it is not only the elites who have successfully used the media. Civil rights groups in the 1960s relied heavily on the media to tell their stories of unjust treatment. Many believe that the introduction of television helped to accelerate the movement by graphically showing Americans (in both the North and South) what the situation was.
UNDERSTANDING THE MASS MEDIA
The media act as key link institutions between the people and the policymakers and have a profound impact on the political policy agenda. The media are so crucial in today’s society that they are often referred to as the “fourth branch of government.”
The watchdog function of the media helps to keep government small. Many observers feel that the press is biased against whoever holds office and that reporters want to expose them in the media. With every new proposal being met with skepticism, regular constraints are placed on the growth of government. Conversely, when they focus on injustice in society, the media inevitably encourage the growth of government. The media portray government as responsible for handling almost every major problem.
The rise of television has furthered individualism in the American political process. Candidates are now much more capable of running for office on their own by appealing to people directly through television.
The rise of the “information society” has not brought about a corresponding rise of an “informed society.” With the media’s superficial treatment of important policy issues, it is not surprising that the incredible amount of information available to Americans today has not visibly increased their political awareness or participation. The media’s defense is to say that this is what the people want. Since they are in business to make a profit, they have to appeal to the maximum number of people.


CHAPTER OUTLINE

I. THE MASS MEDIA TODAY

A. The American political system has entered a new period of high-tech politics in which the behavior of citizens and policymakers, as well as the political agenda itself, is increasingly shaped by technology.

B. The mass media are a key part of that technology. Television, radio, newspapers, magazines, and other means of popular communication are called mass media because they reach out and profoundly influence not only the elites but the masses.

C. Modern political success depends upon control of the mass media.

1. Candidates have learned that one way to guide the media’s focus is to limit what they report on to carefully scripted events known as media events; that is, an event that is staged primarily for the purpose of being covered.

2. Image making does not stop with the campaign. It is also a critical element in day-to-day governing because politicians’ images in the press are seen as good indicators of their clout. For example, the Reagan administration was particularly effective in controlling the president’s image as presented by the media. A large part of today’s so-called 30-second presidency (a reference to 30-second sound bites on TV) is the slickly produced TV commercial.


II. THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE MASS MEDIA

A. The daily newspaper is largely a product of the late nineteenth century, while radio and television have been around only since the first half of the twentieth.

B. As recently as the presidency of Herbert Hoover (1929-1933), reporters submitted their questions to the president in writing, and he responded in writing (if at all).

C. Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933-1945) was the first president to use the media effectively. To Roosevelt, the media were a potential ally, and he promised reporters two press conferences (presidential meetings with reporters) a week.

D. At the time of Roosevelt’s administration, the press had not yet started to report on a political leader’s private life: The press never even reported to the American public that the president was confined to a wheelchair.

1. The events of the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal soured the press on government. Today’s newspeople work in an environment of cynicism; the press sees ferreting out the truth as their job since they believe that politicians rarely tell the whole story.

2. Investigative journalism—the use of detective-like reporting methods to unearth scandals—pits reporters against political leaders. There is evidence that TV’s fondness for investigative journalism has contributed to greater public cynicism and negativism about politics.

E. Scholars distinguish between two kinds of media: the print media, which include newspapers and magazines, and the broadcast media, which consist of television and radio. Each has reshaped political communication at different points in American history.

F. The print media.

1. Newspapers.

a. The first American daily newspaper was printed in Philadelphia in 1783, but daily newspapers did not become common until the technological advances of the mid-nineteenth century. Rapid printing and cheap paper made the “penny press” possible — a paper that could be bought for a penny and read at home.

b. By the 1840s, the telegraph permitted a primitive “wire service,” which relayed news stories from city to city faster than ever before. The Associated Press, founded in 1849, depended heavily on this new technology.

c. Two newspaper magnates, Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst, enlivened journalism around the turn of the century. This was the era of yellow journalism, where the main topics were sensationalized accounts of violence, corruption, wars, and gossip.

d. Newspapers consolidated into chains during the early part of the twentieth century. Today’s massive media conglomerates control newspapers with 78 percent of the nation’s daily circulation; these chains often control television and radio stations as well.

e. Among the most influential newspapers today are the New York Times (a cut above most newspapers in its influence and impact almost from the beginning), the Washington Post (perhaps the best coverage inside Washington), and papers from a few major cities (the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, and others). For most newspapers in medium-sized and small towns, the main source of national and world news is the Associated Press wire service.

2. Magazines.

a. The political content of leading magazines is pretty slim. Newsweeklies such as Time, Newsweek, and U.S. News and World Report rank well behind popular favorites such as Reader’s Digest, TV Guide, and National Geographic.

b. Serious magazines of political news and opinion (such as the New Republic, the National Review, and Commentary) are primarily read by the educated elite.

G. The broadcast media.

1. The broadcast media have gradually displaced the print media as Americans’ principal source of news and information.

a. Radio was invented in 1903; the first modern commercial radio station was Pittsburgh’s KDKA, whose first broadcast was of the 1920 Harding-Cox presidential election returns.

b. As a form of technology, television is almost as old as radio; the first television station appeared in 1931.



  1. The 1950s and 1960s were the adolescent years for American

television.

a. The first televised presidential debate was the 1960 Kennedy-Nixon debate. The poll results from this debate illustrate the visual power of television in American politics: Whereas people listening to the radio gave the edge to Nixon, those who saw it on television thought Kennedy won.

b. Television took the nation to the war in Vietnam during the 1960s, and TV exposed governmental naïveté (some said it was outright lying) about the progress of the war. President Johnson soon had two wars on his hands, one in Vietnam and the other at home with antiwar protesters—both covered in detail by the media.

3. With the growth of cable TV, particularly the Cable News Network (CNN), television has entered a new era of bringing news to people (and to political leaders) as it happens.

4. Since 1963, surveys have consistently shown that more people rely on TV for the news than any other medium; and by a regular two-to-one margin, people think television reports are more believable than newspaper stories.

5. Another trend associated with the growth of cable TV and the Internet is the development of narrowcasting, where “broadcast” stations target particularly narrow audiences.



  1. Narrowcasting will allow political junkies to acquire more

information, but makes it more likely that those not interested in politics will be able to avoid it completely.
III. REPORTING THE NEWS

A. Defining news.

1. News reporting is a business in America in which profits shape how journalists define what is newsworthy, where they get their information, and how they present it.

2. Edward J. Epstein found that some important characteristics of the TV news business result from the nature of the viewing audience.

a. In their pursuit of high ratings, news shows are tailored to a fairly low level of audience sophistication.

b. To a large extent, TV networks define news as what is entertaining to the average viewer.

B. Finding the news.

1. Epstein called his book News from Nowhere to make the point that the organizational process shapes the news.

2. A surprising amount of news comes from well-established sources. Most news organizations assign their best reporters to particular beats—specific locations where news frequently emanates from, such as Congress.

a. Numerous studies of both the electronic and print media have found that journalists rely almost exclusively on such established sources to get their information.

b. Those who make the news depend on the media to spread certain information and ideas to the general public (sometimes via stories fed to reporters in the form of trial balloons—information leaked to see what the political reaction will be).

c. In turn, reporters rely on public officials to keep them informed. Official sources who have the information (such as knowledge about movements during the Gulf War) usually have the upper hand over those who merely report it.

d. Very little of the news is generated by spontaneous events or a reporter’s own analysis. Most stories are drawn from situations over which newsmakers have substantial control.

C. Presenting the news.

1. Once the news has been “found,” it has to be compressed into a 30-second news segment or fit in among the advertisements in a newspaper.

2. TV news is little more than a headline service. With exceptions like the MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour (PBS) and Nightline (ABC), analysis of news events rarely lasts more than a minute. At the same time, complex issues—like nuclear power, the nation’s money supply, and pollution—are difficult to treat in a short news clip.

3. Paradoxically, as technology has enabled the media to pass along information with greater speed, news coverage has become less complete. Americans now hear sound bites of 15 seconds or less on TV.

D. Bias in the news.

1. The charge that the media have a liberal bias has become a familiar one in American politics, and there is some limited evidence to support it.

a. Reporters are more likely to call themselves liberal than the general public, and a 1992 survey of 1,400 journalists found that 44 percent identified themselves as Democrats compared to 16 percent who said they were Republicans.

b. However, there is little reason to believe that journalists’ personal attitudes sway their reporting of the news. Most stories are presented in a “point/counterpoint” format in which two opposing points of view are presented.

2. Why the news is typically characterized by political neutrality.

a. Most reporters strongly believe in journalistic objectivity.

b. Those who are best at objective reporting are usually rewarded by their editors.

c. Media outlets have a direct financial stake in attracting viewers and subscribers.

3. A conclusion that news reporting contains little explicit partisan or ideological bias is not to argue that it does not distort reality in its coverage.

a. Ideally, the news should mirror reality. In practice, there are too many potential stories for this to be the case.

b. Journalists must select which stories to cover and to what degree. Due to economic pressures, the media are biased in favor of stories with high drama that will attract people’s interest (rather than extended analyses of complex issues).

c. Television is particularly biased toward stories that generate good pictures; seeing a talking head (a shot of a person’s face talking directly to the camera) is boring, and viewers will switch channels in search of more interesting visual stimulation.
IV. THE NEWS AND PUBLIC OPINION

A. It is difficult to study the effects of the news media on people’s opinions and behavior. One reason is that it is hard to separate the media from other influences. In addition, the effect of one news story on public opinion may be negligible, while the cumulative effect of dozens of news stories may be quite important.

B. There is evidence that the news and its presentation are important in shaping public opinion about political issues.


  1. The decision to cover or to ignore certain issues can affect public

opinion.

2. By focusing public attention on specific problems, the media influence the criteria by which the public evaluates political leaders.

C. Much remains unknown about the effects of the media and the news on American political behavior. Enough is known, however, to conclude that the media are a key political institution.
V. THE MEDIA’S AGENDA-SETTING FUNCTION

A. As was explained in Chapter 1, people are trying to influence the government’s policy agenda when they confront government officials with problems they expect them to solve.

1. Interest groups, political parties, politicians (including the president and Congress), public relations firms, and bureaucratic agencies are all pushing for their priorities to take precedence over others.

2. Political activists (often called policy entrepreneurs—people who invest their political “capital” in an issue) depend heavily upon the media to get their ideas placed high on the governmental agenda.

a. Policy entrepreneurs’ weapons include press releases, press conferences, letter writing, buttonholing reporters and columnists, and trading on personal contacts.

b. It is not only the elites who have successfully used the media. Civil rights groups in the 1960s relied heavily on the media to tell their stories of unjust treatment. Many believe that the introduction of television helped to accelerate the movement by graphically showing Americans (in both the North and South) what the situation was.

3. Conveying a long-term, positive image via the media is more important than a few dramatic events. Policy entrepreneurs depend on goodwill and good images. Public relations firms may be hired to improve a group’s (or individual’s) image and their ability to sell their policy positions.
VI. UNDERSTANDING THE MASS MEDIA

A. The media act as key link institutions between the people and the policymakers and have a profound impact on the political policy agenda.

B. The media and the scope of government.


  1. The watchdog function of the media helps to keep government

small.

a. Many observers feel that the press is biased against whoever holds office and that reporters want to expose them in the media. With every new proposal being met with skepticism, regular constraints are placed on the growth of government.

b. The watchdog orientation of the press can be characterized as neither liberal nor conservative, but reformist.

2. When they focus on injustice in society, the media inevitably encourage the growth of government.

C. Individualism and the media.

1. The rise of television has furthered individualism in the American political process.

a. Candidates are now much more capable of running for office on their own by appealing to people directly through television.

b. Congress is difficult to cover on television because there are 535 members, but there is only one president, so the presidency has increasingly received more exposure vis-à-vis the Congress.

D. Democracy and the media.

1. The rise of the “information society” has not brought about the rise of the “informed society.”

a. The media do a much better job of covering the “horse race” aspects of politics than of covering substantive issues.

b. With the media’s superficial treatment of important policy issues, it is not surprising that the incredible amount of information available to Americans today has not visibly increased their political awareness or participation.



2. The media’s defense is to say that this is what the people want. Network executives claim that they are in business to make a profit, and to do so they have to appeal to the maximum number of people.


KEY TERMS AND CONCEPTS
Beats: specific locations where news frequently occurs.

Broadcast media: one of two kinds of media; includes television and radio.

Chains: media conglomerates which control a large percentage of daily newspaper circulation and some television and radio stations as well.

High-tech politics: politics where technology has shaped political behavior and the political agenda.

Investigative journalism: the use of detective-like reporting methods to unearth scandals.

Mass media: media which reaches and influences both elites and the masses.

Media event: an event staged primarily for the purpose of being covered.

Narrowcasting: strategy of some broadcast channels that appeal to a narrow, rather than a broad, audience.

Policy agenda: the list of subjects or problems to which government officials and people outside of government closely associated with those officials are paying some serious attention at any given time.

Policy entrepreneurs: political activists who invest their political capital in an issue.

Press conferences: presidential meetings with the press.

Print media: one of two kinds of media; includes newspapers and magazines.

Sound bites: a portion of a speech aired on TV of 15 seconds or less.

Talking head: a shot of a person’s face talking directly into the camera.

Trial balloons: information leaked to the media to see what the political reaction will be.

TEACHING IDEAS: CLASS DISCUSSION AND STUDENT PROJECTS


  • We frequently complain about bias by the media in reporting the policies and activities of the president and Congress, but officeholders also manipulate the media. In fact, modern political success depends upon control of the mass media. Have your class try to determine how each manipulates the other.




  • You Are the Policymaker: Should Networks Have to Provide Free Air Time to Candidates? examines a proposal for free air time—scheduled at the same time on all networks and interested cable outlets one month prior to presidential elections. Ask your class to read this selection and be prepared to discuss the proposal in class. Who would such a policy advantage? Disadvantage? Would our democracy be stronger if in fact we adopted such a proposal?




  • Assign students to debate the question as to whether—or in what ways—the mass media are biased. Require that they develop working definitions of bias and gather evidence regarding characteristics of reporters and editors; chain ownership and advertising; and actual media content.




  • Ask your students to discuss the role that the profit motive plays in how journalists report the news. What would be their reactions to proposals to have a publicly funded information service?




  • If there is a local newspaper in your town, contact the editor and ask if one of the reporters would be willing to speak to your class. This is often seen as good public relations for the newspaper, and can enliven a class by bringing in the "real world" of reporting.




  • For class discussion, ask students to evaluate whether American mass media has become too powerful. In particular, ask students to debate whether mass media's impact on public opinion and political outcomes is consistent with the concepts of limited government and balanced power. Is there any democratic way to hold mass media organizations accountable for their behavior?




  • For class discussion, ask students to discuss the ways in which mass media influences the political thought and behavior of citizens. In particular, have students evaluate the media's role in creating an informed citizenry, which is vital to the successful functioning of democratic government.




  • For a reading and writing connection, have students prepare a content analysis of the following news media: including a local newspaper, the New York Times, the local television news, a national television news, the Newshour on PBS television, a local radio station's news, and the local NPR radio station's news. Using a coding sheet, have them code the content of the headline news reports for one week. The coding sheet should include the date/time of the media presentations, the subject, the length of time the item was discussed, and an evaluation of the amount of detail provided for each news story. Then have students write an essay comparing and contrasting the differences in information acquired from each medium in terms of quality, depth, breadth, originality, and timeliness.




  • Divide your class into five groups: network television, daily local newspapers, daily national newspapers, cable news, and radio. Ask that they watch, read, or listen to the news only from their arranged source for one or two weeks, and then quiz them in terms of their knowledge of current events. Do students relying on one source know more than those relying on other sources?




  • Alternatively, have students compare the topics and amount of information presented in traditional media sources versus the Internet. Allow students to debate which news source is better.

BACKGROUND READING
Bennett, W. Lance. News: The Politics of Illusion. 3rd ed. New York: Longman, 1995.

Cook, Timothy E. Governing with the News: The News Media as a Political Institution. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998.

Epstein, Edward J. News From Nowhere: Television and the News. New York: Random House, 1973.

Graber, Doris A. Mass Media and American Politics. 5th ed. Washington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly Press, 1996.


Graber, Doris A., Denis McQuail, and Pippa Norris, eds. The Politics of News, The News of Politics. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 1998.

Iyengar, Shanto, and Donald R. Kinder. News That Matters. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987.

Linsky, Martin. Impact: How the Press Affects Federal Policy Making. New York: Morrow, 1986.

Neuman, W. Russell, Marion R. Just, and Ann N. Crigler. Common Knowledge: News and the Construction of Political Meaning. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992.

Patterson, Thomas E. Out of Order. New York: Knopf, 1993.

West, Darrell M. Air Wars: Television Advertising in Election Campaigns, 1952-1992. Washington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly Press, 1993.

Bimber, Bruce. Information and American Democracy. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003.



MEDIA SUGGESTIONS
All the President's Men. A 1976 movie dramatization of Woodward and Bernstein's investigation of the Watergate scandal.

Cost of Free Speech. This film analyzes the effect of freedom of the press, especially examining the possible harm from media having too much freedom. Films for the Humanities and Sciences.

Disconnected: Politics, the Press and the Public. This program focuses on the extent to which the media, with its emphasis on profit, deadlines, and entertainment, compromise media coverage of elections and disconnect the public from the political system. Films for the Humanities & Sciences.

Free Speech for Sale: A Bill Moyers Special. Moyers, along with various public advocates, discusses the ability of well-funded interests to dominate public debate, largely due to their access to the mass media. Films for the Humanities & Sciences.

Politics in Action, Chapter 9: Media at War. Contrasts the style of media coverage of wars across five decades, highlighting the changing nature of reporting norms in covering political events.






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