1. Timothy Cook writes, “Given the tendency for the news media to craft stories around individuals rather than social forces, the president is the most familiar protagonist around.”
How do American Presidents attempt to shape their policies and their image with respect to communicating with the public (think about agenda setting, priming and framing as well as the tools/techniques the President employs to try and control the media). What role does the news media play in this process? What are the implications for the creation of public policy and the future of American democracy?
According to the President Abraham Lincoln, public sentiment is everything that presidents need. With public sentiment, nothing can fail. Thus, President and the administration use media to make favorable and supportive public opinion. Why they use media? That is because the functions of the media such as agenda setting, priming and framing. Media can influence what issues public should pay attention to. Agenda setting is the process by which the media communicate the relative importance of issues to the public. Priming is how the media highlight issues which can lead public to make judgments about politicians and policies. What aspects the media draw is really important, since it can change the criteria which are used to evaluate politicians and policies. Framing is focusing on how the issue is organized and developed rather than how media selected the issues or what issues are important. Framing implies how to think or interpret about the political issues. Framing can be done by manipulating names, metaphors, symbols, and language (words.) Framing can favor a particular side in an argument without showing different sides. The White House office of communication, the press secretary, and the White House Press Corps are offices that help Presidents try to win favorable support, shape news flow, and orchestrate coverage. Presidents have the White House office of communication to get some communication consulting. It functions as PR firms of the White House, so it provides speech writing, controls all media appearances, and so on. It helps creating messages which can make favorable public sentiment. Presidents also have the press secretary. The press secretary helps Presidents connect with the Press. It interacts daily with the White House Press Corps. The White House Press Corps is where the most major news related to White House comes from. Presidents want to shape and manage the presidential news flow. Press releases and news briefings deal with a specific topic and are more frequent. These may cover breaking information or updates and generally less formal. News conferences works little different. They deal with multiple topics and have a specific play book – an entrance, prepared remarks, and questions from the press. They are more formal than press releases and news briefings and are announced will in advance. Sometimes, presidents go directly to the public. Roosevelt’s fireside chat, weekly video address, or giving a speech can be great examples of this. Presidents also care about information leaks. Especially animus leak and whistle blowers’ leak can be fatal to their policies and their image. In order to create favorable public opinion, Presidents have to pay attention to information leaks. Images are another important source to determine public opinion. Images can be extremely powerful when it comes to forming the perception of the Presidents. So, presidents are terribly careful about what images are released to the public. In order to control the images, there is official White House photographer who is specifically assigned to document the presidency. When political event happens, Presidents and the administration try to place administration officials in front or top of the story to establish frames before someone else does this. News media plays important role during this process. Media write many articles about what...
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