As Madison’s Capital Times marks its 100th anniversary in 2017, editors Dave Zweifel and John Nichols recall the remarkable history of a newspaper that served as the tribune of Robert M. La Follette and the progressive movement, earned the praise of Franklin Delano Roosevelt for its stalwart opposition to fascism, battled Joe McCarthy during the "Red Scare," championed civil rights, women’s rights, and LGBTQ rights, opposed the Vietnam War and the invasion of Iraq, and stood with Russ Feingold when he cast the only US Senate vote against the Patriot Act. The Capital Times did not do this from New York or Washington but from the middle of America, with a readership of farmers, factory workers, teachers, and shopkeepers who stood by The Cap Times when the newspaper was boycotted, investigated, and attacked for its determination.
At a point when journalism is under assault, when newspapers struggle to survive, and "old media" struggles to find its way in a digital age, The Capital Times remains unbowed—still living up to the description Lord Francis Williams, the British newspaper editor, wrote 50 years ago: "The vast majority of American papers are as dull as weed-covered ditch-water; vast Saharas of cheap advertising with occasional oases of editorial matter written to bring happiness to the Chamber of Commerce and pain and irritation to none; the bland leading the bland.… Just here and there are a few relics of the old fighting muckraking tradition of American journalism, like The Capital Times of Madison."
From the Affordable Care Act to No Child Left Behind, politicians often face a puzzling problem: although most Americans support the aims and key provisions of these policies, they oppose the bills themselves. How can this be? Why does the American public so often reject policies that seem to offer them exactly what they want?
By the time a bill is pushed through Congress or ultimately defeated, we’ve often been exposed to weeks, months—even years—of media coverage that underscores the unpopular process of policymaking, and Mary Layton Atkinson argues that this leads us to reject the bill itself. Contrary to many Americans’ understandings of the policymaking process, the best answer to a complex problem is rarely self-evident, and politicians must weigh many potential options, each with merits and drawbacks. As the public awaits a resolution, the news media tend to focus not on the substance of the debate but on descriptions of partisan combat. This coverage leads the public to believe everyone in Washington has lost sight of the problem altogether and is merely pursuing policies designed for individual political gain. Politicians in turn exacerbate the problem when they focus their objections to proposed policies on the lawmaking process, claiming, for example, that a bill is being pushed through Congress with maneuvers designed to limit minority party input. These negative portrayals become linked in many people’s minds with the policy itself, leading to backlash against bills that may otherwise be seen as widely beneficial. Atkinson argues that journalists and educators can make changes to help inoculate Americans against the idea that debate always signifies dysfunction in the government. Journalists should strive to better connect information about policy provisions to the problems they are designed to ameliorate. Educators should stress that although debate sometimes serves political interests, it also offers citizens a window onto the lawmaking process that can help them evaluate the work their government is doing.
James T. Hamilton Harvard University Press, 2016 Library of Congress PN4888.I56H36 2016 | Dewey Decimal 071.3
Investigative journalism holds democracies and individuals accountable to the public. But important stories are going untold as news outlets shy away from the expense of watchdog reporting. Computational journalism, using digital records and data-mining algorithms, promises to lower the cost and increase demand among readers, James Hamilton shows.
Though not all people are religious believers, religion has played important historic roles in developing political systems, parties, and policies—affecting believers and non-believers alike. This is particularly true in the United States, where scholars have devoted considerable attention to a variety of political phenomena at the intersection of religious belief and identity, including social movements, voting behavior, public opinion, and public policy. These outcomes are motivated by “identity boundary-making” among the religiously affiliated. The contributors to this volume examine two main factors that influence religious identity: the communication of religious ideas and the perceptions of people (including elites) in communicating said ideas.
Exploring the Public Effects of Religious Communication on Politics examines an array of religious communication phenomena. These include the media’s role in furthering religious narratives about minority groups, religious strategies that interest groups use to advance their appeal, the variable strength of Islamophobia in cross-national contexts, what qualifies as an “evangelical” identity, and clergy representation of religious and institutional teachings. The volume also provides ways for readers to think about developing new insights into the influence religious communication has on political outcomes.
While undocumented immigration is controversial, the general public is largely unfamiliar with the particulars of immigration policy. Given that public opinion on the topic is malleable, to what extent do mass media shape the public debate on immigration? In Framing Immigrants, political scientists Chris Haynes, Jennifer Merolla, and Karthick Ramakrishnan explore how conservative, liberal, and mainstream news outlets frame and discuss undocumented immigrants. Drawing from original voter surveys, they show that how the media frames immigration has significant consequences for public opinion and has implications for the passage of new immigration policies.
The authors analyze media coverage of several key immigration policy issues—including mass deportations, comprehensive immigration reform, and measures focused on immigrant children, such as the DREAM Act—to chart how news sources across the ideological spectrum produce specific “frames” for the immigration debate. In the past few years, liberal and mainstream outlets have tended to frame immigrants lacking legal status as “undocumented” (rather than “illegal”) and to approach the topic of legalization through human-interest stories, often mentioning children. Conservative outlets, on the other hand, tend to discuss legalization using impersonal statistics and invoking the rule of law. Yet, regardless of the media’s ideological positions, the authors’ surveys show that “negative” frames more strongly influence public support for different immigration policies than do positive frames. For instance, survey participants who were exposed to language portraying immigrants as law-breakers seeking “amnesty” tended to oppose legalization measures. At the same time, support for legalization was higher when participants were exposed to language referring to immigrants living in the United States for a decade or more.
Framing Immigrants shows that despite heated debates on immigration across the political aisle, the general public has yet to form a consistent position on undocumented immigrants. By analyzing how the media influences public opinion, this book provides a valuable resource for immigration advocates, policymakers, and researchers.
The word media hype is often used as rhetorical argument to dismiss waves of media attention as overblown, disproportional and exaggerated. But these explosive news waves, as well as - nowadays - the twitter storms, are object of scientific research, because they are an important phenomenon in the public area. Sometimes it is indeed 'much ado about nothing' but in many cases these media storms have play an important role in political issues, scandals and crises. Twitter storms sometimes ruin reputations within hours. Although different concepts are used, such as media hypes, news waves, media storms, information cascades or risk amplification, all the studies in this book refer to the same process in which key events trigger a chain of reactions and interactions, building up huge news waves in the media or rapidly spreading social epidemics in the social media. This book offers the first comprehensive overview of this important topic. It is not only interesting for scholars and students in media and journalism, but also for professionals in PR and communication, crisis communication and reputation management.
The ideal of a neutral, objective press has proven in recent years to be just that—an ideal. In Governing with the News, Timothy E. Cook goes far beyond the single claim that the press is not impartial to argue that the news media are in fact a political institution integral to the day-to-day operations of our government. This updated edition includes a new afterword by the author, which pays close attention to two key developments in the twenty-first century: the accelerating fragmentation of the mass media and the continuing decline of Americans' confidence in the press.
"Provocative and often wise. . . . Cook, who has a complex understanding of the relationship between governing and the news, provides a fascinating account of the origins of this complicity."—James Bennet, Washington Monthly
"[Governing with the News] addresses central issues of media impact and power in fresh, illuminating ways. . . . Cook mines a wealth of historical and organizational literature to assert that the news media are a distinct political institution in our democratic system."—Robert Schmuhl, Commonweal
The radical youth movements of the 1960s and '70s gave rise to both militant political groups ranging from urban guerrilla groups to autonomist counterculture, as well as radical media, including radio, music, film, video, and television. This book is concerned with both of those tendencies considered as bifurcations of radical media ecologies in the 1970s. While some of the forms of media creativity and invention mapped here, such as militant film and video, pirate radio and guerrilla television, fit within conventional definitions of media, others, such as urban guerrilla groups and autonomous movements, do not. Nevertheless what was at stake in all these ventures was the use of available means of expression in order to produce transformative effects, and they were all in different ways responding to ideas and practices of guerrilla struggle and specifically of guerrilla media. This book examines these radical media ecologies as guerrilla networks, emphasising the proximity and inseparability of radical media and political practices.
The Indecent Screen explores clashes over indecency in broadcast television among U.S.-based media advocates, television professionals, the Federal Communications Commission, and TV audiences. Cynthia Chris focuses on the decency debates during an approximately twenty-year period since the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which in many ways restructured the media environment. Simultaneously, ever increasing channel capacity, new forms of distribution, and time-shifting (in the form of streaming and on-demand viewing options) radically changed how, when, and what we watch. But instead of these innovations quelling concerns that TV networks were too often transmitting indecent material that was accessible to children, complaints about indecency skyrocketed soon after the turn of the century. Chris demonstrates that these clashes are significant battles over the role of family, the role of government, and the value of free speech in our lives, arguing that an uncensored media is so imperative to the public good that we can, and must, endure the occasional indecent screen.
This is the classic story of the life and times of I. F. “Izzy” Stone. Robert Cottrell weaves together material from interviews, letters, archival materials, and government documents, and Stone’s own writings to tell the tale of one of the most significant journalists, intellectuals, and political mavericks of the twentieth century. The story of I. F. Stone is the tale of the American left over the course of his lifetime, of liberal and radical ideals which carried such weight throughout the twentieth century, and of journalism of the politically committed variety. Now available in a handsome new Rutgers University Press Classic edition, it is an examination of the life and career of a gregarious yet frequently grumpy loner who became his nation’s foremost radical commentator provides a window through which to examine American radicalism, left-wing journalism, and the evolution of key strands of Western intellectual thought in the twentieth century.
A Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter who covered the Supreme Court for The New York Times, Linda Greenhouse trains an autobiographical lens on a moment of transition in U.S. journalism. Calling herself “an accidental activist,” she raises urgent questions about the role of journalists as citizens and participants in the world around them.
Free and attentive news media are essential to the workings of a democratic nation. But how well does the news, in reality, actually serve the needs of citizens, and thereby democracy? How well do the major methods of sharing national political information work, and how well-informed do they leave voters? For years, News: The Politics of Illusion has been the leading textbook to address that question, and in this ninth edition W. Lance Bennett brings his analysis fully up to date, exploring recent developments in news media and showing how they have improved--or hampered--the wide sharing of political news and information.
For over thirty years, News: The Politics of Illusion has not simply reflected the political communication field—it has played a major role in shaping it. Today, the familiar news organizations of the legacy press are operating in a fragmenting and expanding mediaverse that resembles a big bang of proliferating online competitors that are challenging the very definition of news itself. Audience-powered sites such as the Huffington Post and Vox blend conventional political reporting with opinion blogs, celebrity gossip, and other ephemera aimed at getting clicks and shares. At the same time, the rise of serious investigative organizations such as ProPublica presents yet a different challenge to legacy journalism. Lance Bennett’s thoroughly revised tenth edition offers the most up-to-date guide to understanding how and why the media and news landscapes are being transformed. It explains the mix of old and new, and points to possible outcomes. Where areas of change are clearly established, key concepts from earlier editions have been revised. There are new case studies, updates on old favorites, and insightful analyses of how the new media system and novel kinds of information and engagement are affecting our politics. As always, News presents fresh evidence and arguments that invite new ways of thinking about the political information system and its place in democracy.
Barack Obama’s historic 2008 campaign exposed many white Americans more than ever before to a black individual who defied negative stereotypes. While Obama’s politics divided voters, Americans uniformly perceived Obama as highly successful, intelligent, and charismatic. What effect, if any, did the innumerable images of Obama and his family have on racial attitudes among whites? In The Obama Effect, Seth K. Goldman and Diana C. Mutz uncover persuasive evidence that white racial prejudice toward blacks significantly declined during the Obama campaign. Their innovative research rigorously examines how racial attitudes form, and whether they can be changed for the better. The Obama Effect draws from a survey of 20,000 people, whom the authors interviewed up to five times over the course of a year. This panel survey sets the volume apart from most research on racial attitudes. From the summer of 2008 through Obama’s inauguration in 2009, there was a gradual but clear trend toward lower levels of white prejudice against blacks. Goldman and Mutz argue that these changes occurred largely without people’s conscious awareness. Instead, as Obama became increasingly prominent in the media, he emerged as an “exemplar” that countered negative stereotypes in the minds of white Americans. Unfortunately, this change in attitudes did not last. By 2010, racial prejudice among whites had largely returned to pre-2008 levels. Mutz and Goldman argue that news coverage of Obama declined substantially after his election, allowing other, more negative images of African Americans to re-emerge in the media. The Obama Effect arrives at two key conclusions: Racial attitudes can change even within relatively short periods of time, and how African Americans are portrayed in the mass media affects how they change. While Obama’s election did not usher in a “post-racial America,” The Obama Effect provides hopeful evidence that racial attitudes can—and, for a time, did—improve during Obama’s campaign. Engaging and thorough, this volume offers a new understanding of the relationship between the mass media and racial attitudes in America.
As Matthew Pressman’s timely history reveals, during the turbulent 1960s and 70s the core values that held the news industry together broke apart and the distinctive characteristics of contemporary American print journalism emerged. Simply reporting the facts was no longer enough as reporters recognized a need to interpret events for their readers.
As it seeks to win the hearts and minds of citizens in the Muslim world, the United States has poured millions of dollars into local television and radio programming, hoping to generate pro-American currents on Middle Eastern airwaves. However, as this fascinating new book shows, the Middle Eastern media producers who rely on these funds are hardly puppets on an American string, but instead contribute their own political and creative agendas while working within U.S. restrictions.
The Other Air Force gives readers a unique inside look at television and radio production in Afghanistan and the Palestinian territories, from the isolated villages of the Afghan Panjshir Valley to the congested streets of Ramallah. Communications scholar Matt Sienkiewicz explores how the U.S. takes a “soft-psy” approach to its media efforts combining “soft” methods of encouraging entertainment programming, such as adaptations of The Voice and The Apprentice with more militaristic “psy-ops” approaches to information control. Drawing from years of field research and interviews with everyone from millionaire executives to underpaid but ever resourceful cameramen, Sienkiewicz considers the perspectives of the Afghan and Palestinian media workers trying to forge viable broadcasting businesses without straying outside American-set boundaries for acceptable content.
As it carefully examines the interplay of U.S. military and economic might with the capacity for local ingenuity and resistance, the book also analyzes the intriguingly complex programming that emerges from this tension. Combining eyewitness reportage with cutting-edge scholarship, The Other Air Force reveals the remarkable creative output that can emerge even from the world’s tensest conflict zones.
Westerners tend to equate political action with revolution and open criticism, leading to concerns that the less outspoken citizens of nonliberal societies are brainwashed, complicit, or paralyzed by fear. Jing Wang shatters this myth, showing how online activists in China are quietly building powerful coalitions for incremental social change.
Disinformation and so-called fake news are contemporary phenomena with rich histories. Disinformation, or the willful introduction of false information for the purposes of causing harm, recalls infamous foreign interference operations in national media systems. Outcries over fake news, or dubious stories with the trappings of news, have coincided with the introduction of new media technologies that disrupt the publication, distribution and consumption of news -- from the so-called rumour-mongering broadsheets centuries ago to the blogosphere recently. Designating a news organization as fake, or der Lügenpresse, has a darker history, associated with authoritarian regimes or populist bombast diminishing the reputation of 'elite media' and the value of inconvenient truths. In a series of empirical studies, using digital methods and data journalism, the authors inquire into the extent to which social media have enabled the penetration of foreign disinformation operations, the widespread publication and spread of dubious content as well as extreme commentators with considerable followings attacking mainstream media as fake.
Winner of the 2017 Outstanding Book Award from the Popular Communication Division of the International Communication Association
Nearly as soon as television began to enter American homes in the late 1940s, social activists recognized that it was a powerful tool for shaping the nation’s views. By targeting broadcast regulations and laws, both liberal and conservative activist groups have sought to influence what America sees on the small screen. Public Interests describes the impressive battles that these media activists fought and charts how they tried to change the face of American television.
Allison Perlman looks behind the scenes to track the strategies employed by several key groups of media reformers, from civil rights organizations like the NAACP to conservative groups like the Parents Television Council. While some of these campaigns were designed to improve the representation of certain marginalized groups in television programming, as Perlman reveals, they all strove for more systemic reforms, from early efforts to create educational channels to more recent attempts to preserve a space for Spanish-language broadcasting.
Public Interests fills in a key piece of the history of American social reform movements, revealing pressure groups’ deep investments in influencing both television programming and broadcasting policy. Vividly illustrating the resilience, flexibility, and diversity of media activist campaigns from the 1950s onward, the book offers valuable lessons that can be applied to current battles over the airwaves.
The history of cable television in America is far older than networks like MTV, ESPN, and HBO, which are so familiar to us today. Tracing the origins of cable TV back to the late 1940s, media scholar John McMurria also locates the roots of many current debates about premium television, cultural elitism, minority programming, content restriction, and corporate ownership.
Republic on the Wire takes us back to the pivotal years in which media regulators and members of the viewing public presciently weighed the potential benefits and risks of a two-tiered television system, split between free broadcasts and pay cable service. Digging into rare archives, McMurria reconstructs the arguments of policymakers, whose often sincere advocacy for the public benefits of cable television were fueled by cultural elitism and the priority to maintain order during a period of urban Black rebellions. He also tells the story of the people of color, rural residents, women’s groups, veterans, seniors, and low-income viewers who challenged this reasoning and demanded an equal say over the future of television.
By excavating this early cable history, and placing equality at the center of our understanding of media democracy, Republic on the Wire is a real eye-opener as it develops a new methodology for studying media policy in the past and present.
In this counterintuitive study of digital democracy, Jen Schradie shows how the web has become another weapon in the arsenal of the powerful, and a potent weapon for conservative activists. Rather than leveling the playing field, the internet has tilted it in favor of the Right, where only the most sophisticated and well-funded players can compete.
In Secret Service, former Director Deneral of the British Security Service Jonathan Evans reveals how he balanced two apparently irreconcilable pressures during his tenure with MI5: state secrecy and public transparency. Despite popular perception, Evans argues, these values need not be at odds. Intelligence and the press share many goals, and partnerships formed on these grounds often prove fruitful. In disclosing his methods, Evans compares his approach with other agencies, especially in the United States, and speculates on the UK’s post-Brexit collaborations with European security services. In short, Secret Service presents an on-the-ground picture of life in British intelligence, one that calls us to care for the moral health of both the institution and its operatives.
Human beings are social animals. Yet despite vast amounts of research into political decision making, very little attention has been devoted to its social dimensions. In political science, social relationships are generally thought of as mere sources of information, rather than active influences on one’s political decisions.
Drawing upon data from settings as diverse as South Los Angeles and Chicago’s wealthy North Shore, Betsy Sinclair shows that social networks do not merely inform citizen’s behavior, they can—and do—have the power to change it. From the decision to donate money to a campaign or vote for a particular candidate to declaring oneself a Democrat or Republican, basic political acts are surprisingly subject to social pressures. When members of a social network express a particular political opinion or belief, Sinclair shows, others notice and conform, particularly if their conformity is likely to be highly visible.
We are not just social animals, but social citizens whose political choices are significantly shaped by peer influence. The Social Citizen has important implications for our concept of democratic participation and will force political scientists to revise their notion of voters as socially isolated decision makers.
This book focuses on the referendums against water privatization in Italy and explores how activists took to social media, ultimately convincing twenty-seven million citizens to vote. Investigating the relationship between social movements and internet-related activism during complex campaigns, this book examines how a technological evolution — the increased relevance of social media platforms — affected in very different ways organizations with divergent characteristics, promoting at the same time decentralized communication practices, and new ways of coordinating dispersed communities of people.Matteo Cernison combines and adapts a wide set of methods, from social network analysis to digital ethnography, in order to explore in detail how digital activism and face-to-face initiatives interact and overlap. He argues that the geographical scale of actions, the role played by external media professionals, and the activists’ perceptions of digital technologies are key elements that contribute in a significant way to shape the very different communication practices often described as online activism.
While social network analyses often demonstrate the usefulness of social media networks to affective publics and otherwise marginalized social justice groups, this book explores the domination and manipulation of social networks by more powerful political groups. Jeffrey Layne Blevins and James Lee look at the ways in which social media conversations about race turn politically charged, and in many cases, ugly. Studies show that social media is an important venue for news and political information, while focusing national attention on racially involved issues. Perhaps less understood, however, is the effective quality of this discourse, and its connection to popular politics, especially when Twitter trolls and social media mobs go on the attack.
Taking on prominent case studies from the past few years, including the Ferguson protests and the Black Lives Matter movement, the 2016 presidential election, and the rise of fake news, this volume presents data visualization sets alongside careful scholarly analysis. The resulting volume provides new insight into social media, legacy news, and social justice.
The march to the Trump presidency began in 1988, when Rush Limbaugh went national. Brian Rosenwald charts the transformation of AM radio entertainers into political kingmakers. By giving voice to the conservative base, they reshaped the Republican Party and fostered demand for a president who sounded as combative and hyperbolic as a talk show host.
First runner-up for the 2019 John Leo and Dana Heller Award from the Popular Culture Association
Surprisingly, Hollywood is still clumsily grappling with its representation of sexual minorities, and LGBTQ filmmakers struggle to find a place in the mainstream movie industry. However, organizations outside the mainstream are making a difference, helping to produce and distribute authentic stories that are both by and for LGBTQ people.
Turning the Page introduces readers to three nonprofit organizations that, in very different ways, have each positively transformed the queer media landscape. David R. Coon takes readers inside In the Life Media, whose groundbreaking documentaries on the LGBTQ experience aired for over twenty years on public television stations nationwide. Coon reveals the successes of POWER UP, a nonprofit production company dedicated to mentoring filmmakers who can turn queer stories into fully realized features and short films. Finally, he turns to Three Dollar Bill Cinema, an organization whose film festivals help queer media find an audience and whose filmmaking camps for LGBTQ youth are nurturing the next generation of queer cinema.
Combining a close analysis of specific films and video programs with extensive interviews of industry professionals, Turning the Page demonstrates how queer storytelling in visual media has the potential to empower individuals, strengthen communities, and motivate social justice activism.