Political Parties On Media
Political Parties On Media
Matthew Jones (Political Science Instructor) gives expert video advice on: What is the parties' stance on media consolidation?; What is the parties' stance on telecom consolidation?; What is the parties' stance on telecom industries sharing information with the government? and more...
What is the parties' stance on media consolidation?
There are factions in both parties that like diverse media. Obviously the more liberal factions in the Democratic Party don't like the big business aspect of media. So media consolidation means big business consolidation and so they're against that. On the other hand, there are factions in the Republican Party that genuinely dislike mass media regardless of whether it is business consolidated or not and they really like the idea of alternative sources of media, like radio, like the internet and other things. But, however, looking into that generally in terms of media consolidation as a big business issue, Republicans are less worried about big business, and more look at it as we've kind of got to let the free market go its way and the free market allows companies to consolidate one day and it fragments them the next. So you know comparing it to the airline industry, we had Big Three airlines in one decade, the next decade you have Jet Blue and Southwest and it's very diverse and that's the hand of the free market. Whereas the Democrats are more worried about consolidation meaning bad things for the media industry.
What is the parties' stance on telecom consolidation?
Going along the lines of free markets and which party is more willing to support business being business so to speak, and this crosses party lines also but I do not think either party really is gung hoe about the idea of business consolidation because part of a free market is diversity and so even the free market republican conservatives you know they want diversity because you have to have choices for people to make a choice of one thing being better than the other. Media consolidation does not you know means that you have less choices. On the other hand the republicans are much more suspicious about using government to intervene to prevent media consolidation they are much less willing to you know push that button. It has to get worse for them to be willing to push that button then for democrats to push the government into intervention to prevent or to circumvent or to direct media consolidation in another direction.
What is the parties' stance on telecom industries sharing information with the government?
The national security issue in the War on Terror, this particular environment that we live in right now, means that republican's and national security conservative's are more willing to take that as a good thing. As these businesses are working with the government to provide information that is going to be necessary for national security or for other things. The democrats, however, look at that as a lot of times personal information, and a lot of times there's a problem with the government having too much power, gaining too much power. And again, this crosses party lines because the libertarians in the republican party don't like that either. And that's one of the reasons Ron Paul is popular as a republican candidate. Now, recently, in the recent budget, one of the things that the republicans were able to get through on that budget was that, the telecom businesses that have provided government information are immune from law suits filed by people who, was their personal information that was given to government. So, those telecom industries that have given information to the government-you can't sue them if this budget goes forward.
What is the parties' stance on net neutrality?
Net neutrality, at this point in time, or as we're speaking in this interview is probably not one of those issues that's not going to take a priority in either party. So what's going to happen is that the type of issue that's not going to follow along party lines so easily. Republicans aren't going to take a platform stance on it. Neither are Democrats really. And it's going to come down to individual politicians, individual legislators, individual regulators as to their position on net neutrality. And so what happens is because this isn't something that's in the consciousness of most voters and other things, the parties don't treat this as a big issue. They don't talk about it a whole lot, so they don't deal with it a whole lot. So the regulatory agency, in this case the FCC, has a lot of power because they are the ones to promulgate the rules about whether companies can charge more for different bandwidth or different speeds or not. And so since the FCC, as long as none of the politicians are paying attention the FCC gets to pretty much make the rules that it wants to within reasonable guidelines. Now if some politicians who are interested in net neutrality for their own policy reasons or for whatever reason, because they think it's important, don't like what the FCC is doing they'll create their own bill and try and get other legislators to pay attention to it. Because in something as insular as this is right now, the real battle is for attention. How do I get other people to pay attention to it so that I can actually get people to print this into the agenda floor and people to vote for it. But then it's usually not a partisan vote. It's just the people who will pay attention to it are for it, and the people who are not paying attention to it are worried about how it's going to affect their other issues that they really care about, and sometimes they're against it.
What is the parties' relationship with major media outlets?
The political parties, and their relationship with major media outlets has evolved. In the 60's 70's, and 80's the media was leaning more towards the Democrats. The Democrats were able to use the media more effectively than the Republicans, and all you had was a mainstream media. Now, since then, Reagan was of course able to use the media very well. It helped that, he was an actor, and knew how to do that sort of thing The Republicans were able to make some inroads. But then what happens was radio really took off. So, talk radio happens, with Rush Limbaugh, who was the godfather of talk radio. And following from him you get Dennis Praeger, Hugh Hewitt and Michael Medved, the names go on forever. Clear Channel, tends to own most of these talk Radio shows. So, the Democratic Party has a more favorable relationship with the mainstream media, while the Republican Party tends to have a more favoravle relationship with alternative media, such as radio. Now with the internet, which is really where it's going now, we see right now that the Democrats have the edge on the Republicans in terms of internet use. This is what happened with Dean and others. The Republicans are trying to play catch-up, and they are learning a lot fast, but as of now, the Democrats are more savvy, when it comes to getting their message out and especially with getting blogs and donors and funding bases, using the internet.
How has Fox News changed the political landscape?
Well one of the things that has happened is cable news kind of used to be that NBC, ABC, and CBS were where you got your news. Well, cable news, starting with CNN kind of was where 24 hour news channel kind of went in a different direction. What happened is CNN is owned by Ted Turner who is a liberal democrat. He is married to Jane Fonda. So, now CNN claims to be objective and says it's objective just like most news media outlets. However, Republican conservatives felt like they weren't getting a fair shake and that the media was against them. So Rupert Murdoch who owns Fox News and now The Wall Street Journal as well as the New York Post and the Washington Times and a ton of other things created Fox News to be the ad alternative. And so Fox News not only was it an alternative in terms of saying it's objective like CNN isn't objective, but also created news in a more fast-paced, more, hate to say entertaining, but definitely more fast-paced, colorful, kind of ADD style that CNN has now adopted and MSNBC has adopted. And it also allowed for those people who really felt that they weren't getting a fair shake on CNN, those conservatives, it allowed them a place to go. And it worked out wonderfully, beautifully. So much so that now MSNBC to a certain extent is trying to be the liberal alternative to Fox News.
What party is best at getting their message to mainstream media?
I'd have to say the democratic party is still probably better at getting their message to the mainstream media. Though the gap as closed significantly through the mainstream media. The Republican party does a very good job at getting the message to the mainstream media. Part of that has to do with the conservatives hammering the mainstream media as being liberal biased for long enough, that the mainstream media has had to start looking for conservative; republican journalists and others. Whether that's true or not, to a certain extent there was some truth to that. Whether it was over blown or not. It probably was over blown too. The Republican party has been able to make significant strides. The George W. Bush administration has been less media savvy than many than definitely the Reagan administration. I'd have to say that edge still goes to the Democratic at this moment in time.
What party is best at getting their message to the Internet world?
The Democrats' party has been kind of on the leading edge of getting, using the internet to get their message through. And this is true, not only with Dean and, you know, he's kind of that whole revolution, and the money he was able to raise in using blogs, which now the democratic party always uses, but also with what's called the net roots. Which is the Daily Kos, and a bunch of other blogs and other things that are pretty much liberal talking websites, and the Daily Kos is one of those ones that has been huge, and the Democrats have been able to use those blogs to their advantage, much more than the Republicans have, though the Republicans have tried to make strides, but they are playing catch up at the moment. The Republicans are playing catch up.