It would be good for democracy if the growing dominance of online media sources could counteract some of the media's negative view of politics by allowing interactivity, but all it takes is a look at the comments on an online article or blog post to realize that much of the media's negative view The difference is that the mainstream media tends to be negative about the process in general and the animus of members of the public to be more tribal-- elevating the party or side they agree with and being vitriolic about the one they don't.
It's difficult to say whether the ideological slant of a news source makes a difference to one's perception of the news, since people seem to gravitate to the sources with which they agree.
A 2003 study looking at misperceptions about the Iraq war found that there was evidence of links between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, that weapons of mass destruction had been found in Iraq, and that world opinion favored U.S. action in Iraq.
Those who got their news from other sources were more likely to hold those misperceptions than those who got their news from Fox News.
They want bylines, airtime, the respect of their peers, and professional recognition at the same time that they want to help keep their news organizations competitive and profitable.
They feel pressure to get the story that they feel politicians are withholding, whether it's a new event or not.
What is at stake for journalists is not always serving the public.
Citizens need sound knowledge about what is happening in the political world so that they can make informed decisions and vote for the people who will represent their interests.
Journalists would have a stake in investigating the accuracy of a single narrative.
The stake becomes more important with multiple conflicting stories to assess.
Explain how journalists use tools to shape and perpetuate political narratives.
The media portray politics in a negative light and news reporting emphasizes personality, superficial image, and conflict over substantive policy issues.
Some media figures argue that this is not the media's fault, but rather the responsibility of politicians and their press officers who are so obsessed with their own images on television that they limit access to the media, speak only in pre-arranged sound bites, and present themselves to the public.
Politicians are trying to control the political narrative by limiting the ability of journalists to do their jobs.
The ability of reporters to put their own interpretation on the occasion is limited by media events.
The rules of American politics, which require a politician to have high public approval to maximize his or her clout, mean that politicians have to try to get maximum exposure for their ideas and accomplishments while limiting the damage the media can do with their intense scrutiny, investigations, and critical perspectives.
The staff want to put their own issues on the agenda, determine for themselves the standards by which the politician will be evaluated, frame the issues, and supply the sources for reporters, so that they will put their client, the politician, in the best possible light.
To build a narrative that the media representatives will repeat as fact is what modern political will be most flattering to the politician whose image is in their care.
Modern American politics has become a fight between the press and politicians to control the agenda and narratives that reach the public.
The rehabilitation of the image of Richard Nixon after he lost the 1960 election to the Kennedy campaign is a classic example of news management.
Nixon speechwriter Ray Price was inspired by the way the Kennedy administration had managed the image of Kennedy as war hero, patriot, devoted father, and faithful husband, when at least one of those characterizations wasn't true.
In 1967, he wrote that Nixon was unpopular with the public and that the response should be to the image, not the man.
It's not what's there that counts, it's what's projected, and it's not what he projects, but what the voter gets.
The man we have to change isn't the one we have to change.
He won election as president in 1968 and 1972, and that he had to resign in 1974 is less a failure of his image makers than the revelation of the "real" Nixon underneath.
The techniques of political communication that Nixon's handlers developed for managing his image have become part of the basic repertoire of political staffs.
After Watergate, the Nixon administration ran a tight ship when it came to managing the president's image.
Nixon presssecretary Ron Ziegler and his staff were caught by surprise when the president announced his resignation in 1974.
The line of the day is picked by staffers and they organize all messages from the administration around that theme.
Journalists trying to follow independent stories are frustrated by this strategy.
The press corps is forced to report the appearance as the only news if the politician is available for only a short period of time.
The Nixon White House had offices that dealt with communications.
The White House press secretary was kept in the dark so that he could deny that he knew the answers to reporters' questions, as well as an Office of Communications, an Office of Public Liaison, and a speechwriting office.
Regional papers were more easily manipulated during Nixon's time.
It can also include television talk shows and late-night television, and other forums that go directly to the public, such as town hall meetings and digital opportunities to reach the public.
The strategy of rewarding media outlets that provide friendly coverage and punishing those that do not is part of the approach.
The politician's staff should be in charge of what political language is allowed by the media.
To be sure the press and the public pick up on the message, the press office will repeat it often, and it will work on wording that is memorable.
Almost every serious politician now has a Twitter account that they use regularly.
Politician try to control the news with the use of leaks, secretly revealing confidential information to the press.
A variety of purposes can be served by leaks.
An official leaking a policy or plan in order to gauge public reaction is called a leak.
The policy can go ahead without risk if the reaction is positive and the official denies ever mentioning it.
Some presidential administrations are better at news management than others.
In his first administration, Nixon's was successful, and Ronald Reagan's model of public relations was referred to as a model of public relations.
Within a couple of years, the Clinton staff had become more skilled, and by his second administration they were able to handle scandals that would have intimidated more seasoned public relations experts.
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