Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Bennett -- Chapters 13 and 14

We're reading this "Mediated Politics" book in my Mass Media and Politics class. Here are a few thoughts on Chapters 13 and 14:

Chapter 13 is about the "Big Spin" and strategic communication. It's written by W. Lance Bennett and Jarol B. Manheim.

Among several competing notions of how democracy functions, pluralism – the idea that the views of citizens are effectively and equitably represented through competing organized interests – has long held special appeal. The pluralist model is often offered as the democratic ideal in cases such as the United States …”

“In place of transparency and inclusiveness, we observe growing political communication practices that subordinate the identities and motives of the participants, along with the full disclosure of their objectives, with the overriding end of achieving pragmatic political victories.”

They mention how electoral and advocacy campaigns now often involve deception in the messages and the ways the sources of those messages are identified.

Now, specific audiences are being targeted with specified messages.

On one hand you can't really blame them. It's smart to do this. Why wouldn't you want to give a group of potential voters a specified message that appeals JUST to them?

Then again, even if the message being given isn't untruthful, it seems like a bit of an underhanded thing to do.

They mention how the consequences of the communication these days is, quite frankly, unknown. Yet, it's increasingly important.

Chapter 14 covers the impact of the new media. They talk about the new groups that use the new media (i.e. blogs, YouTube, etc., etc.) to get their messsage out.

Russell Neuman says that issues churned out by those using the new media will matter more than the the issues that are churned out by those in mass communication. The fact that some TV news shows and newspapers are now using YouTube as a source of information leads me to believe this may be true. Is this a bad thing? A good thing? I'm not really sure.

On one hand, if those using the new media are churning out info on important issues and the media is now taking note of it, then that means the important issues ARE getting out there. Then again, it seems odd that the professionals are looking to the general public to get their information.