The Media Effect: How the News Influences Politics and Government

Praeger, 2007 - 162 páginas
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In a postmodern age where the media's depictions of reality serve as stand-ins for the real thing for so many Americans, how much government policy is being made on the basis of those mediated realities and on the public reaction to them? When those mediated depictions deviate from the truth of the actual situation, how serious a situation is that? Time and again, both anecdotal evidence and scientific research seem to confirm that the news media often influence government action. At the least, they speed up policy making that would otherwise take a slower, more reasoned course. Sometimes the media serve as the communication link among world leaders who may be ideological enemies. Because of the enduring popularity of television news, government leaders monitor the networks' story selections and track public opinion trends generated by interviews done in these stories. These then become the substance of proposed legislation and/or executive action, as politicians strive to prove themselves able listeners to the heartland of America and also prove themselves worthy of re-election. This book examines many specific events that show how major news operations either painted a truthful or distorted picture of national and international events, and how governmental leaders responded following those representations.

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2 The Media and Political Action
3 The Media and National Development
4 How Events and Issues Become News
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Jim Willis is a former newspaper reporter and editor for the Oklahoman and the Dallas Morning News who has been teaching journalism at the university level since 1980. He holds a Ph.D. in Journalism from the University of Missouri, and he currently chairs the Department of Communication Studies at Azusa Pacific University. He has held endowed chairs at the University of Oklahoma and the University of Memphis, is a former Communication Department chair at Boston College, and has been a professor at Ashland University as well as guest professor at Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany, and Justus Liebig University in Giessen, Germany. Since leaving the practice of full-time daily journalism, he has covered numerous stories, including the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. This is his tenth book on journalism and the news media.

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