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AP Gov.

Influencing Public Opinion&Evaluating Media in Gov.

Tatum Hale

on 20 September 2012

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Transcript of AP Gov.

9/10 Americans believe that media has a strong influence on public opinion. Influencing Public Opinion Media/TV coverage can dramatically alter how the public perceives events. Example: TV coverage of elections affects public opinion of candidates: OR: Coverage of Hurricane Katrina: Setting the Political Agenda Political Agenda: A list of issues that need government attention. Media attention can force the government to address issues by making them known to the public. Example: Drawing attention to child abuse Uncovering issues buried in the scientific community Cloning, AIDS, Environment etc. Putting too much emphasis
on an issue Local media covers crime 2X as much as other topics Why? Because it's cheap and easy to cover Effect: Despite falling crime rates, public believes crime is increasing Politician Influence Media influences public opinion by defining the news Politicians are eager to influence the media because Government leaders closely monitor national news, trying to influence people and assess others' weaknesses and strengths EX: Whitehouse representatives appearing on news/talk shows Socializing the Citizenry Mass Media is an important agent of political socialization Young people that don't follow the news acquire
political values through entertainment The average American child watches 19,000 hrs of TV
by the end of high school Modern Television Exposure to sex & swear words Experts believe that networks' declarations of Bush's victory may have created a premature impression carrying through the post election challenge. Pros and Cons Modern TV features sex, swearing and negative portrayals of the criminal justice system Media promotes government by celebrating national holidays and political anniversaries Teaches citizens to value the "American Way" Coverage of political scandals, crooked politicians Evaluating the Media in Government Is Reporting Biased? In a 2004 survey, 34% of the national press considered themselves "liberal" Talk radio is dominated by conservative views Incumbents tend to receive more news coverage When asked about the war against Iraq, viewers that relied on commercial TV networks were found to have the most misconceptions Even newspapers are found to display biases Contributions to Democracy Watchdog Journalism:
Journalism that scrutinizes public and business institutions and publicizes perceived misconduct. News reporters consider it their job to search for inaccuracies in communication from government to citizens Media transmits information
to the government EX: Media practices "precision journalism" with data collection Polls generate knowledge of public opinion Effects on Freedom, Order, and Equality The media has played a large role in
advancing equality Gave national coverage to the civil rights movement Women's Rights Journalists tend to support
freedom However, in a 2006 national survey, 1/3 favored government censorship The media's ability to report what they wish can erode order EX: Coverage of terrorist acts gives them the publicity they seek, portrayal of crimes encourages copycats Freedom of the press is a noble value, and is seen as important to democracy, but sometimes there are prices when it is pursued without qualification
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