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Political Science
Political Science 1020E
Peter Fragiskatos

POLITICAL CULTURE, POLITICAL SOCIALIZATION, AND THE NEWS MEDIA Political Culture Defined Thoughts, attitudes, assumptions, and values that make clear what is acceptable and unacceptable in terms of how we deal with societys problems. It is through political socialization and the media that these mindsets are acquired. Symbols are mediums through which thoughts and feelings are communicated (media derives from medium). Mediums are not neutral (e.g. a person speaking is biased). Objectivity What prevents it from happening? Many believe that it is an impossible ideal; that is, separating opinions when re-telling a story. The Propaganda Model Even in a free society, we see propaganda put forward by the news media and propelled by the powerful and/or the state. There is no formal agreement on what will be reported. Instead, all news passes through 5 Filters: 1. Ownership Public vs. Private (more concerned with profit). (E.g. Conrad Black). There should be a diverse public space. However, many journalists sensor themselves to preserve their jobs and please the heads. Too much media in one companys hands might be a threat to diversity and democracy. To combat this, the CRTC was implemented, who in 2008 ruled that any company or person who owns a media organization will not be permitted to own more than two media outlets in a particular city or town. If the aim is to make money, one is not likely to conduct expensive investigators. Therefore cheap and uninformative stories dominate, while important issues (poverty, health care, education, environment, and economics) are neglected (advertisers arent interested). 2. Advertising They key source of profit for media sources. This can have an impact on the sort of stories covered (e.g. junk food). 3. Sources Often journalists rely on government for information (because it is cheap and requires no investigative work). Journalists are oppressed by media tycoons. 4. Flak As a journalist, you never want to get criticized especially at a time of tragedy. At the time of 9/11, if you reported on Afghanistan, you were deemed unpatriotic and were even targeted. 5. The Mood You do not go against the overwhelming/prevailing national/patriotic mood. Limits of the News Media T.V. news is too brief. Problems with newspapers: The average story is about 1000 words, and opinion pieces even less. Internet o A possible solution a lot more room, no newsprint costs, more options and context. o However, affected by infotainment. POLITICAL PARTIES Communism Socialism Reform Liberalism Classical Liberalism Conservatism Fascism Left and Right Wings Rooted in the French Revolution where those who opposed authority sat on the left side of the assembly, and those in favour on the right. Defining a Political Party The actors in politics that seek to gain power by running in election campaigns. Sometimes parties make a point of recruiting star candidates. Put forth policy platforms and promising what the people want. Electoral Professional Parties parties that dont take extreme views and are objective and anti- ideological (dont focus on the blueprints). State ensures that the inequalities of capitalism are dealt with. The current state of the economy determines many peoples vote. (Those who want to keep their hard-earned money tend to vote conservative.) Party Finding and Support Jean Chretien put in place a per-vote subsidy (if they received at least 2% of the total vote, parties were given $2/vote received). Limited donations to $1000/candidate, $1000/party, $5000 to multiple parties). This was done to mediate (corporate) influence. Paul Martin amassed $12 million from corporations. Gradually being phased out (as proposed by Harper). Tax payers dollars shouldnt fund parties (the money saved this year = $30 million). This is an effective way for the conservative to get rid of competition. VOTING BEHAVIOUR & THE NATURE OF ELECTION CAMPAIGNS IN MODERN DEMOCRACIES Why does voting matter? If a state leader is to remain in power, the population has to see them as legitimate. What determines our voting choices? Class (Economic Position) o Workers = NDP, Bourgeoisie = Conservative, and Liberals come from all classes. Religion o Atheists and agnostics (skeptics) are often inspired by Marxism like NDP. o Religiously devout are often conservative. Culture (Language) o Liberal party has been recognized as immigrant-friendly. o However, the Conservatives message of tradition appeals to those who are adjusting to unfamiliarity. Regions o Alberta: Oil-driven economy (Conservative, profit-driven). o Quebec: The Bloc emphasizes culture and tradition preservation. Age o 18-25: NDP and increasingly Green. o 30+: Liberal and Conservative. As you age, you realize you want to keep your money. Rural-Urban Divide o Conservative partys message of tradition appeals to farmers who want to keep their land (city people are more open to changes). Gender o Women tend to have a more reformist attitude (e.g. criminal rehab) which is a focal point of the liberals and NDP. Party Identification o People can become committed to a party in two ways: 1. Being raised in a politically-committed home (where everyone follows one party in blind faith). 2. Charismatic Leaders: followers never forget them and become committed to the party (even after the leader leaves). The Election Campaign Most important and effective element of the party. Issue of voter turnout (factors). Reasons for Low Turnout University grads and academic population are more likely to vote. Type of Election: highest in federal and lowest in municipal. Predictability of Results: if numbers are drastic in polls, many wont bother. Young people claim to be too busy. Method of Voting: Fir
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