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Lecture

Thorough Notes on Lecture 4

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Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOCC44H3
Professor
Ivanka Knezevic

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SOCC44H3Media and SocietyFri, Feb 04/2011
Propoganda and Persuasion
Social influences on news coverage
1. Corporate ownership of the media (conflict of corporate interest with the purpose of news
organization)
Stories can be limited because owners have influence over what kinds of stories can be
published
2. Corporate link (of owners with other corporations);
Coverage of damaging news for other corporations, not just your own, can be limited because of
the link that corp has with yours.
Protect businesses you have links with, even if it means covering up vital issues (powerplant
leakages)
3. Advertising revenue;
In North America, advertising is a huge source of income
4. Government policies control journalism by non-disclosure or direct censorship (media pools,
embedded journalists);
media pools: in most government you need to be embedded into a media pool (you need to gain
access to government officials within parliament)
Sometimes government provides information directly to media pools only so if you're not in
one, you may not be in on the information
If you create problems for government, you will not be admitted into a media pool
Being accepted into a media pool however, doesn't solve your problems. Government will
give you a media release as to how to go about doing your business
embedded journalists: as long as there is any war fought around the world (particularly usa),
there will be embedded journalists
The journalist has to stay within the military unit all the time and can only go where the unit
allows you to go, for protection, but this limits your coverage very much
This is why you hear so little about civilian casualties
Also, your information will be biased to just the US military since you're surrounded by
them
5. Moral panics by powerful moral entrepreneurs
moral panic : a social process that poses as a social problem
powerful moral entrepreneurs have large influence on what social issue is considered a
www.notesolution.com
social problem, or even a moral panic
The police can select an issue like street violence and explode the issue, which can in turn
cause us to be convinced its a real issue and we'll open up to the idea of increasing the
budget for police, allowing them to increase the force, the spending within the force, etc
Article Nasty Girls: mass media would give a problem of violence on female youth, which
was not actually an issue. This would create a moral panic and they'd examine who the
moral entrepreneurs were in the issue
Definition of a social process as a social problem by stake holders, who have ideological or
structural interest in the definition
Long-term influence of mass media on public opinion/politics
Relationship between mass media and politics is reciprocal
1. Agenda setting
Mass media tells us what important political and social issues within our society are
Mass media sets our public opinion agenda. They give us items to consider as real issues
Quite often, the agenda set by the media can have little to do with the politics that are happening
inside the country, or what interests the public wants to pursue
Hornig Priest: which opinion on biotechnology becomes parts of public agenda?
Not what public thinks, but what the stakeholders want us to believe
2. Perception of politics
Gerbner: cultivation theory: long-term media exposure influences perception of reality
According to him, if you consume a lot of mass media and you consume it over your entire
life, eventually you will start believing that the real world is as portrayed in mass media
This is true because none of us have first hand in most of the issues (ex, we don't live in
washington where white house issues occur)
Cultivation theory : mass media cultivates your view on reality
In politics, media present illusion of participation and reality of elite domination.
The coverage of politics in mass media is such to give you an illusion that ordinary people
(voters) actually have influence on political issues
Why would Gerbner call this illusion of participation?
What mass media don't emphasis, which they should to give us a proper political
outlook, we're choosing among a limited number of offers.
Reality of elite domination : the most important political decisions are made by a limited
number of political officials but they make us believe we have an influence on these
decisions
3. Changes in the nature of political discourse
Neil Postman: news as entertainment, therefore politics as entertainment
He argued that the way politics are portrayed in the news makes us change our view on
politics
www.notesolution.com
We'll be surrounded by important political issues that will influence how we live, and he's
arguing that since news media in North America has been for a long time presenting news as
entertainment, people have been seeing news as entertainment now
Ex: political debates are seen more as entertainment now
This makes the news about it more entertaining to viewers
Neil Postman (1985) “Amusing Ourselves to Death
His main thesis: Entertainment as a goal infiltrates and transforms political coverage – it
trivializes politics.
It reduces politics from what it really is, something important, into a smaller issue than it
really is
Fragmentation, personification, simplified opposition
Fragmentation : political issues are reduced to sound bytes. No political news issue lasts
more than 5 minutes. People aren't given the history of the issue. The historical contexts are
removed and they are presented as isolates.
Personification : portraying politics as a matter of personalities rather than a matter of
political programs.
If we are more interested in personal characteristics, we'll pay almost no attention to
their political programs
Simplified opposition : the news will be portrayed as a battle of two opposite news stand
points
All you're given are sound bytes of why one politician is for tax raises and why the other
is against for about 5 minutes each. No details, just about 5 short mins to listen to them
Performance substituted for principled debate
Politicians looking and sounding good, looking elegant, instead of worrying about their
political agenda
The presidential debate in 1960 (nixon vs kennedy) was seen more as a performance
Kennedy won because he gave a better performance. Didn't really look at what the two
were saying, Kennedy was just able to express his points well and had a nice tan and
looked more presentable
Non-political criteria (look and sound good) for politicians to be judged suitable for election
Politicians use make up when they appear on TV, they're told how to dress, they have media
handlers (people who teach you how to speak in the media, how to appear sincere, how to
avoid unpleasant question)
Like those signs on peoples lawns for voting, there are pictures of the politicians but there's
no reason for those pictures. They serve no purpose in the issues at hand
Consequence disincentive to political parties to offer substantially different platforms
Agenda Setting
Agenda setting and framing are mass media production processes that influence public
opinion and politics
www.notesolution.com

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Description
SOCC44H3 Media and Society Fri, Feb 042011 Propoganda and Persuasion Social influences on news coverage 1. Corporate ownership of the media (conflict of corporate interest with the purpose of news organization) Stories can be limited because owners have influence over what kinds of stories can be published 2. Corporate link (of owners with other corporations); Coverage of damaging news for other corporations, not just your own, can be limited because of the link that corp has with yours. Protect businesses you have links with, even if it means covering up vital issues (powerplant leakages) 3. Advertising revenue; In North America, advertising is a huge source of income 4. Government policies control journalism by non-disclosure or direct censorship (media pools, embedded journalists); media pools: in most government you need to be embedded into a media pool (you need to gain access to government officials within parliament) Sometimes government provides information directly to media pools only so if youre not in one, you may not be in on the information If you create problems for government, you will not be admitted into a media pool Being accepted into a media pool however, doesnt solve your problems. Government will give you a media release as to how to go about doing your business embedded journalists: as long as there is any war fought around the world (particularly usa), there will be embedded journalists The journalist has to stay within the military unit all the time and can only go where the unit allows you to go, for protection, but this limits your coverage very much This is why you hear so little about civilian casualties Also, your information will be biased to just the US military since youre surrounded by them 5. Moral panics by powerful moral entrepreneurs moral panic: a social process that poses as a social problem powerful moral entrepreneurs have large influence on what social issue is considered a www.notesolution.com
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