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Political Process Cont'd (2)

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Political Science
Political Science 1020E
Charles Jones

1 June 16, 2008 The Political Process Contd’ The Media • Communications Media o Newspapers, magazines, pamphlets, books, radio, television, recordings, films, internet, direct mail • In our age of mass democracy, the media is vital for political information since representatives now have so little direct contact with constituents • Political actors realize how powerful the media is o They need to manipulate it  “Spin doctors” • Political public relations specialists  Televised Debates  Paid political advertising  Public-opinion polling  Direct mail campaigns Role • The media usually tries to be objective but it must make certain value judgements o Agenda-setting  The media selects what is newsworthy o Priming  The media must select certain phrases to describe persons and events • These are often value-loaded o Ex: is Yugoslavia fighting a “civil war” or is it engaged in “ethnic cleansing”? • The modern Western media is very influential o Consider that it was originally two reporters in the Washington Post who ultimately brought Richard Nixon down in 1974 o However, liberal laws often force the media to be careful when making certain accusations  Although the National Enquirer never seems to
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