AmGov Chapter 10

Objective journalism era
Yellow journalism.
Radio, the new mass communication system.
The FCC and regulation
The rise of the “new” news
End of the fairness doctrine
Cable news
Founded by Ted Turner in 1980.
Chose to pursue path of partisan neutrality
Fox News
Founded by Rupert Murdoch in 1996.
Chose a partisan (conservative) format.
Partisan radio talk shows
Without the Fairness Doctrine, radio programmers were free to move to a politically partisan format.
Emergence of the Internet
Low-cost entry compared with other mass media.
Some “new” news outlets a stunning success.
(The Drudge Report, Daily Kos, Instapundit)
Journalism and politics: signaling function (1)
Alert the public to important developments.
U.S. media well equipped to play this role.
Performed by traditional media
Wire services (AP, UPI, Reuters).
Daily newspapers.
TV networks.
Signaling function (2)
Agenda setting of US media results in similarity in national news everywhere.
News media are meant to inform the public, but also need to attract an audience.
Media focus on politics instead of policy.
Common-carrier function
Conduit for political communication.
TV news has become more journalist-centered.
Topics sometimes distilled to the “sound bite”.
The way events are cast
The process by which a communicated message, because of its content, activates certain opinions but not others
The watchdog function
Objective journalism fosters watchdog reporting (watergate).
Watchdog function failures (post-9/11 terrorist attacks).
Internet has expanded watchdog capacity of media.
Partisan function
Traditional media: mostly neutral.
Talk shows: mostly conservative.
The Internet: mostly liberal.
Partisan divide
Until the 1980s, Americans has three TV networks.
(Huge daily audiences- newscast baited only slightly; viewers exposed to the views of both political parties)
Patterns disrupted
Fairness Doctrine rescinded.
The emergence of cable TV and the Internet
Information divide
More news outlets, yet viewers less informed.
Fragmented news sources have led to partisan polarization among audience.
More news available, but alternate programming aids avoidance of news.