Lecture 9 20140405
Media and Politics
Public Media vs. Private Media
• Public media are funded by the state (although that funding can vary from complete to partial)
• The CBC is our public broadcaster (television, radio, internet); BBC in Britain, PBS/NPR (radio networks) in the USA
• Within CBC there different funding and there are commercials and funding is partial and relies on advertising
• Private media are like any other corporation, owned and run primarily in order to make profit
• Journalism will be produced by private media because it has large audiences
• People are often interested in celebrity culture
• Private media relies on profiting, state funding is given for public radios
Public vs. Private Media
David Taras: Most important rationales for the necessity of public media include:
The need to produce journalism as a public good (in the service of democracy)
They do not need to put or produce content for profit
Private media has to make sure they have large audiences and in order to do that, they produce content that will
secure those audiences.
If you are free from that you can pursue a different motive
The need to maintain a plurality of voices and viewpoints
Private media gets to decide what viewpoints gets time Democracy is healthiest when it includes the diversity of viewpoints so minorities are not vulnerable
Benefit of having a broadcaster
The need to produce content that is specifically Canadian (in the service of national identity)
We need Canadian specific television programs but we are mostly getting American because we like the private
media more rather than public media.
Public vs. Private Media
Paul Attalah: the reasons to be sceptical of the need for public broadcasting
There’s nothing different about broadcasting, and all the other media are not public
It is hard to define what is in the public interest, and often elite preferences and opinions are assumed
Private broadcasters accomplish the same goals with respect to enhancing democracy
Civil society relies on many other things besides broadcasting for its vitality
**Also, public media is expensive—CBC budget is about 1 billion dollars—the author is asking whether public media is
worth the money
Public vs. Private Media
Robert McChesney: Why does the US have so little public media, especially broadcasters?
Free market ideology: elites should decide what should be put on the television
Corporate media and journalism schools argue that journalists must be free from government interference (fear of
Corporate media coopt politicians and convince them to protect corporate interests
Reporters without Borders: Correlation between less state control of media and political, social, and economic freedoms
Have division of government to tell public and private media of what should be good for democracy The belief that realm of life are best determined by market outcomes
Markets should be free rather than regulated by the government
Free market is capitalism
• A healthy democracy depends on the presence of diverse viewpoints and voices so that ideas can be based on full information
• Media concentration means that an increasing proportion of the media are owned by a decreasing number of corporations
• When concentration increases, the diversity of viewpoints and voices decreases
• Concentration is higher than ever before, because of relaxed laws and policies that used to prevent concentration
• Media economics encourages concentration more than in other industries
The Economics of Media Concentration
For producers of material goods (cars, appliances, clothes, etc.), although economies of scale can reduce production costs,
raw material and assembly costs will always be a substantial proportion of the total cost.
• Sell newspaper and reprinting is free and is nothing compared to salary of journalists
Copying immediate content and putting in two different newspapers in two different cities you make double the profit fro
For media content producers, a product is expensive to produce in the first instance, but subsequent copies are almost free, and
profit is enhanced through increased distribution. Through concentration, media products can be distributed more widely,
allowing higher profits on the initial investment on production.
Top American Newspaper Chains
• Apply playlists in different cities—you would hear the same content
• There are so many radio stations CMCRP: Industry Specific Concentration Levels in Canada
Media Coverage of Political Issues
• Agenda Setting: Do the media put certain topics on the public agenda and shorten or even eliminate discussion of other topics?
• Framing: Do the media shape the way that certain topics are perceived and understood? How do they do so?
• Agenda setting is the ability of the media to define the issue priorities of the public through their treatment of those issues.
• Methodological challenge: s