The Public Congress: Congressional Deliberation in a New Media Age
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If a newspaper article focuses on unemployment, struggling industries, and jobs moving overseas, the reader will have a negative opinion about the economy. Readers and viewers are able to fight priming effects if they are aware of them or have prior information about the subject.
New Media and Political Campaigns
In , for instance, the McGovern-Fraser reforms created a voter-controlled primary system, so party leaders no longer pick the presidential candidates. Now the media are seen as kingmakers and play a strong role in influencing who will become the Democratic and Republican nominees in presidential elections. The candidates with the most media coverage build momentum and do well in the first few primaries and caucuses. This, in turn, leads to more media coverage, more momentum, and eventually a winning candidate. Thus, candidates need the media. In the s, campaigns learned that tight control on candidate information created more favorable media coverage.
In the presidential election of , candidates Ronald Reagan and George H. Bush began using an issue-of-the-day strategy, providing quotes and material on only one topic each day. This strategy limited what journalists could cover because they had only limited quotes and sound bites to use in their reports.
Reporters complained this coverage was campaign advertising rather than journalism, and a new model emerged with the election. Campaign coverage now focuses on the spectacle of the season, rather than providing information about the candidates. Candidate Donald Trump may be the best example of shallower press coverage of a presidential election. Some argue that newspapers and news programs are limiting the space they allot to discussion of the campaigns.
All these factors have likely led to the shallow press coverage we see today, sometimes dubbed pack journalism because journalists follow one another rather than digging for their own stories. Television news discusses the strategies and blunders of the election, with colorful examples.
Newspapers focus on polls. In an analysis of the election, Pew Research found that 64 percent of stories and coverage focused on campaign strategy.
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In , the average sound bite from Richard Nixon was The clips chosen to air were attacks on opponents 40 percent of the time. The study also found the news showed images of the candidates, but for an average of only twenty-five seconds while the newscaster discussed the stories. Candidates are given a few minutes to try to argue their side of an issue, but some say television focuses on the argument rather than on information. Although biased campaign coverage dates back to the period of the partisan press, the increase in the number of cable news stations has made the problem more visible.
Media coverage of campaigns is increasingly negative, with cable news stations demonstrating more bias in their framing of stories during the campaign. Due in part to the lack of substantive media coverage, campaigns increasingly use social media to relay their message. Candidates can create their own sites and pages and try to spread news through supporters to the undecided.
Yet, on social media, candidates still need to combat negativity, from both the opposition and supporters. Stories about Romney that appeared in the mainstream media were negative 38 percent of the time, while his coverage in Facebook news was negative 62 percent of the time and 58 percent of the time on Twitter.
Once candidates are in office, the chore of governing begins, with the added weight of media attention. Historically, if presidents were unhappy with their press coverage, they used personal and professional means to change its tone. Franklin D. The journalists then wrote positive stories, hoping to keep the president as a source. John F. Kennedy hosted press conferences twice a month and opened the floor for questions from journalists, in an effort to keep press coverage positive.
When presidents and other members of the White House are not forthcoming with information, journalists must press for answers. Dan Rather, a journalist for CBS, regularly sparred with presidents in an effort to get information. In a interview with then-vice president George H.
Bush, Bush accused Rather of being argumentative about the possible cover-up of a secret arms sale with Iran:. Bush: This is not a great night, because I want to talk about why I want to be president, why those 41 percent of the people are supporting me. How would you like it if I judged your career by those seven minutes when you walked off the set in New York? Cabinet secretaries and other appointees also talk with the press, sometimes making for conflicting messages. The creation of the position of press secretary and the White House Office of Communications both stemmed from the need to send a cohesive message from the executive branch.
Currently, the White House controls the information coming from the executive branch through the Office of Communications and decides who will meet with the press and what information will be given. When Obama first entered office in , journalists focused on his battles with Congress, critiquing his leadership style and inability to work with Representative Nancy Pelosi, then Speaker of the House. To gain attention for his policies, specifically the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act ARRA , Obama began traveling the United States to draw the media away from Congress and encourage discussion of his economic stimulus package.
Once the ARRA had been passed, Obama began travelling again, speaking locally about why the country needed the Affordable Care Act and guiding media coverage to promote support for the act. Congressional representatives have a harder time attracting media attention for their policies. Senators and high-ranking House members may also be invited to appear on cable news programs as guests, where they may gain some media support for their policies.
Three Separate Concepts
Yet, overall, because there are so many members of Congress, and therefore so many agendas, it is harder for individual representatives to draw media coverage. It is less clear, however, whether media coverage of an issue leads Congress to make policy, or whether congressional policymaking leads the media to cover policy.
In the s, Congress investigated ways to stem the number of drug-induced deaths and crimes. As congressional meetings dramatically increased, the press was slow to cover the topic. The number of hearings was at its highest from to , yet media coverage did not rise to the same level until What the media choose to cover affects what the president thinks is important to voters, and these issues were often of national importance. The media choose what they want to discuss. Thank You! Sports Women sports wear Men sportswear Women athlatic shoes Men athlatic shoes. Food Cupboard Confectionery.
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New Media and Political Campaigns - Oxford Handbooks
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FREE Shipping. Brand Routledge. Press and politics -- United States. Communication in politics -- United States. Contents Introduction Let's take it outside: the new front on the Hill A new Washington community: the foundation for Congressional public strategies Congressional responses to changes: members adapt to "going outside" The parties' public relations response: marketing the brand Running public relations operations on the Hill: strategies, successes and failures in message marketing The president meets Congress in a new media world: the public relations battle over the stimulus package Thinking constitutionally: challenges of deliberating while turned inside-out.
Notes Formerly CIP. Includes bibliographical references and index. View online Borrow Buy Freely available Show 0 more links Set up My libraries How do I set up "My libraries"? Australian National University Library. Open to the public. The University of Melbourne Library. None of your libraries hold this item. Found at these bookshops Searching - please wait