Ellis and Nelson, Chapter 7 Coleman, Chapter 6. Discussion: What's wrong with the news media? Should Congress bring back the Fairness Doctrine?

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1 This week: Ellis and Nelson, Chapter 7 Coleman, Chapter 6 Discussion: What's wrong with the news media? Should Congress bring back the Fairness Doctrine? I. Mass Media Major questions: what political functions of the media? what systematic political bias in US media? A. Political Functions Media, broadly defined = press and entertainment TV, Internet, radio, print, etc. 1. Newsmaking/reporting decide what stories worth reporting on decisions shape public opinion (public policy) on issues distant from public view

2 Debt ceiling Nigeria (Niger River Delta) Bahrain, Syria, Libya, Tunisia news organizations making stories that were not news Opinion polls Political actors work to stage events to influence these decisions rally speeches press conferences press releases protests campaign events 2. Interpretation (S. Iynegar & Ansolobehere) Framing the issue Placing an event in context Speculating about consequences Giving meaning to story Attributing cause of some event All this can shape how viewer responds Examples:

3 1) Frontrunner presidential candidates Story often is did they meet expectations? "expectation" as defined by media Iowa caucus, Jan 2008: (delegates elected from precincts going to Iowa state convention in May) delegates % support Obama % Edwards % Clinton % Richardson 53 2% Biden 23 1% 0.001% of American voters... New Hampshire Primary Jan 2008: Votes % natl delegates Clinton 112,400 39% 9 Obama 104,800 37% 12 Edwards 48,700 17% 1 Richardson 13,300 5%.01 % of All national delegates

4 Other Election Examples: Interpretation, again: Howard Dean, 2004 (Clinton v. Tsongas '92) 24% 34% (Dole v. Buchanan '96) 28% 26% (LBJ v. McCarthy ' 68) 49% 42% 2) Experiments on attitudes about joblessness social vs. individual spin Framing the issue Placing an event in context Speculating about consequences Giving meaning to story Attributing cause of some event

5 3. Political Socialization (Ansolabehre et al) Television Transmit basic social/political values to individuals Defines what legitimate behavior is Some assume showing it on TV can change behavior ex: Sit coms & divorce, mixed race relations, single parents, etc ex: why was Dan Quayle so concerned about Ellen? about Murphy Brown? Grand Theft Auto, evil music... Media a primary factor in socialization of kids Kids knowl. of good and bad guys in politics from TV adults mostly know about political events via TV most widely used source for political info o 70% get most information from TV by 2005 o 25% reported this in 1970 o 13% get info from newspapers only people think the most credible sources of information are: o 60% TV o 20% print o 10% radio

6 Media Use Recently (2012): Fragmentation of News media: 29% read daily newspaper (down from 59% in 1993) 55% watch local news (down from 77% in 1993) 34% watch natl nightly news (down from 61% in 1993) 16% watch CNN (down from 35% in 1993) 16% listen to NPR (up from 9% in 1994) 39% online (zero in 1993) 21% watch Fox news (zero in 1993) 11% watch MSNBC (Zero in 1993) HUGE age differences: 56% of people 65 and over watch network news 18% of people watch 51% of people 65 and over watch cable news 23% of people watch cable news 70% of people 65 and over read newspapers 29 % of people % of people 65 and over use Internet 78% of people use Internet

7 Social Network Site Use Today Can socializing effect be uniform if such differences? Socialization, or self-selection?

8 Partisan differences (2009): o 41% of Fox viewers are Republican (29% Dem, 22 % Ind o 44% of CNN viewers are Democrats (25% Rep, 25 % Ind) o 66% of conservatives watch local TV, 54% of liberals o 41% of conservatives watch Fox, 20% of liberals o 13% of conservatives listen to NPR, 33% of liberals o 12% of conservatives get news on-line, 22% of liberals o 20% of conservatives listen to Rush, 3% of liberals o 2% of conservatives watch Stewart, 14% of liberals o Fox viewers least knowledgeable, least educated o O'Reily, Daily Show viewers most knowledgably 3. Political Socialization (conclusion) Selective exposure may limit effect of media "bias" Fragmentation may limit socialization effects

9 Is TV still our prime socialization agent? avg. household tuned in = 8 hours 11 minutes per day (2005) 7 hours 15 minutes per day (1995) 7 hours 07 minutes pre day (1985) 6 hours 18 minutes per day (1975) 5 hours 32 minutes per day (1965) 5 hours 01 minute per day (1955) 4 hours 35 minutes per day (1950) ex: where were you when Persuasion and Propaganda direct efforts at changing opinion & attitudes interest groups firms, corporations candidates governments officeholders persuasion o communication designed to provide information to change opinion

10 propaganda o use of information is highly selective o for sake of arguer paid media advertising free media spin doctors 5. Agenda Setting combine : o reporting o interpretation o political socialization o propaganda/persuasion media s prime political function = setting public agenda public agendas don t just happen political actors compete in media arena to define it defining problems of society that deserve attention

11 More Questions: definition of alternatives is the supreme instrument of power How much autonomy does media itself have in defining political agenda? If media has political power, how is it used? What political bias? Does the US media meet criteria for democracy?

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