Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Ownership and Regulation

The Chomsky View:

Ownership Data (see Graber 36-37):

The FCC:

Talk Radio (from an Annenberg Public Policy Center report):
  • "Changing technology has made national talk radio possible. When syndicated talk shows had to be sent by copper wire over phone lines, as they did until the mid l980s, the audio quality was too poor to carry long programs. Another prohibitive factor was the cost of linking stations together by phone lines. The satellite dish changed all that. Stations can now receive broadcast quality from anywhere in the country at a comparatively low cost. Among other things, the new technology made it possible for local hosts to “link several stations together into an ‘instant network.’"
  • "If the satellite made the national broadcast feasible it was the 1-800 number that made the interactive national program possible. When Ma Bell was broken up in deregulation, the cost of long distance calls dropped making 1-800 numbers feasible."
  • "The end of the fairness doctrine paved the way for talk radio as we know it today. Neither hosts nor stations currently have an obligation to provide balance or voice to competing views."
Freedom of Speech

Monday, September 18, 2017

Gov 115 First Assignment, Fall 2017

Choose One

1. Pick any news event (e.g., speeches, press conferences, Sunday morning talk shows) since January 1, 2016 for which you can get a full transcript, recording, or video. Read the coverage of that event in three major mainstream news sources (e.g., New York TimesPolitico). How did each define the story? On what sources did the stories draw? Did any miss something important? Explain in light of the papers’ audiences, constraints, and organizational processes. You may find transcripts at:
2. Assume that W. Joseph Campbell has invited you to add a brief new chapter to the book. Identify a post-2010 media myth, and explain how it spread.

3.  Consider the ways in which government regulates media ownership, access or expression.  (See Graber, ch. 2-3.)  Choose a legislative proposal to change or reform this regulation (e.g., a federal shield law).  Explain why this proposal should or should not become law.

4.  Write a case study of citizen journalism (Graber, pp. 124-125).  That is, explain how material posted online by a non-journalist (e.g, blog posts, tweets, YouTube videos) drove coverage by the mainstream media.  In the specific case that you choose, explain whether the effect was harmful or beneficial.

5. Write an op-ed on any topic that we are discussing. The op-ed should run no more than three pages. You may add a fourth page, discussing strategy for publishing it. Tell where you would submit it, and why you think it could win acceptance. If you succeed in publishing this op-ed, you will get an A for this assignment.  (To qualify for the auto-A, it must appear in a legitimate, professional news outlet. Blogs, newsletters, and student publications do not count.)
  • Essays should be typed (12-point) double-spaced, and no more than three pages long. I will not read past the third page (except for option #5, where you should add a short explanation of placement strategy). 
  • Put your name on a cover sheet. Do not identify yourself on the text pages. 
  • Cite your sources. You may use either endnotes or parenthetical references to a bibliography. In either case, put documentation in a standard format (e.g., Turabian or Chicago Manual of Style). 
  • Watch your spelling, grammar, diction, and punctuation. Errors will count against you. 
  • Return essays to the class Sakai dropbox by 11:59 PM on Thursday, September 28. Essays will drop one gradepoint for one day’s lateness and a full grade after that. I will grant no extensions except for illness or emergency.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

A Practical Lesson in Media Politics

At The New York Times, Peter Baker and Kenneth Vogel report on tensions between Trump lawyer Ty Cobb and White House counsel Donald McGahn:
The friction escalated in recent days after Mr. Cobb was overheard by a reporter for The New York Times discussing the dispute during a lunchtime conversation at a popular Washington steakhouse. Mr. Cobb was heard talking about a White House lawyer he deemed “a McGahn spy” and saying Mr. McGahn had “a couple documents locked in a safe” that he seemed to suggest he wanted access to. He also mentioned a colleague whom he blamed for “some of these earlier leaks,” and who he said “tried to push Jared out,” meaning Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, who has been a previous source of dispute for the legal team.

After The Times contacted the White House about the situation, Mr. McGahn privately erupted at Mr. Cobb, according to people informed about the confrontation who asked not to be named describing internal matters. John F. Kelly, the White House chief of staff, sharply reprimanded Mr. Cobb for his indiscretion, the people said.
Tension between the two comes as life in the White House is shadowed by the investigation. Not only do Mr. Trump, Mr. Kushner and Mr. McGahn all have lawyers, but so do other senior officials. The uncertainty has grown to the point that White House officials privately express fear that colleagues may be wearing a wire to surreptitiously record conversations for Mr. Mueller.
Admirers said Mr. Cobb has developed a rapport with the president and does not report to Mr. McGahn, who they believe feels insecure about his place in Mr. Trump’s orbit. Mr. McGahn’s supporters argue that Mr. Cobb is wildly over-optimistic to think he can steer the investigation away from the president, given that Mr. Mueller has now hired 17 prosecutors.
 The suspicion within the legal team seemed evident in the lunch conversation Mr. Cobb had last week with Mr. Dowd at BLT Steak, not far from the White House and a few doors down from The Times’s office. Mr. Cobb could be heard describing varying views of how to respond to Mr. Mueller’s requests for documents.

The moral? Be careful what you say within earshot of others. That moral is especially important when you are dining at an insider restaurant very close to the NYT DC bureau, where it's almost certain that a reporter or an opposition researcher will be at a nearby table.

Related point for interns.  Don't discuss confidential matters on elevators.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Media History IV

Crack:  This video quotes Dr. Chasnoff (see Campbell, 169, 176).

The example of autism:

Disasters and Breaking News

A Changing Media Landscape

Cable rises

  • 1979: C-SPAN
  • 1980:  CNN
  • 1996: MSNBC
  • 1996: Fox
Viewship is holding

But cable may then start to fall.  Young people, esp., use streaming video to watch TV.

The Internet

Newspapers:  Bad Times

From BLS: Newspaper publishers lose over half their employment from January 2001 to September 2016

Public relations v. Journalism Employment

Monday, September 11, 2017

Media History III

Newspapers:  peaking in the 1970s

The Cronkite Moment

What was the real story behind the "Napalm Girl" photo?

Image result for napalm girl

Vietnam: US Military Deaths by Year:


By June 1972, America has almost completed withdrawal from Vietnam:

Image result for american troops in vietnam by year

The Buchwald "bra-burning" column as it appeared in The Toledo Blade. How did thestory reflect then-pervasive attitudes toward gender roles?

Feminism, "Mad Men" Style

Did The Washington Post uncover Watergate?  Compare and contrast Watergate with later scandals that the media covered.

It did not happen all at once:

How Watergate Changed Public Opinion of Richard Nixon