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The Mass Media and the Political Agenda

high-tech politics

a politics in which the behavior of citizens and policymakers and the political agenda itself are increasingly shaped by technology

mass media

television, radio, newspapers, magazines, the Internet, and other means of popular communication.

media events

events purposely staged for the media that nonetheless look spontaneous. In keeping with politics as theater, media events can be staged by individuals, groups, and government officials, especially presidents.

press conferences

meetings of public officials with reporters

investigative journalism

the use of in depth reporting to unearth scandals, scams and schemes which at times puts the reporters in adversarial relationships with political leaders

print media

newspapers and magazines, as compared with broadcast media

broadcast media

television and radio, as compared with print media


media programming on cable TV or the Internet that is focused on one topic and aimed at a particular audience. Examples include MTV, ESPN, and C-SPAN.


newspapers published by massive media conglomerates that account for over four-fifths of the nation's daily newspaper circulation. Often control broadcast media as well.


specific locations from which news frequently emanates, such as Congress or the White House. Most top reporters work a particular one, thereby becoming specialists in what goes on at that location.

trial ballons

A international news leak for the purpose of assessing the political reaction

sound bites

Short video clips of approximately 15 seconds; typically all that is shown from a politician's speech or activities on the nightly television news.

talking head

A shot of a person's face talking directly to the camera. Because this is visually unappealing, the major commercial networks rarely show a politician talking one-on-one for very long.

policy agenda

the issues that attract the serious attention of public officials and other people actively involved in politics at any given point in time

policy entrepreneurs

People who invest their political capital in an issue. According to John Kingdom, one "could be in or out of government, in elected positions, in interest groups or research organizations".

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