Throughout history, the media and government have held a tangible relationship and will continue to have an effect on the way each institution carries out their daily function in society. Both institutions rely on ‘framing’ events and issues so only partial aspects are captured and ‘given’ to the public. But how does framing connect media and politics?
Traditional media (print, radio and TV) use framing when they establish news item ordering. By placing news bulletins into an order on radio and television news, the media are prioritizing what the audience should consider most “newsworthy” and important, thus frame their attention to particular issues. Print media also frame when they publish their layout, for instance, by choosing to use a refugee story as a front cover makes the issue front and issue, prioritizing what the audience should pay attention to. So it can be see that the media through framing can use direct political involvement by campaigning a particular issue, which in effect may place pressure on the government to develop a news asylum seeker policy.
What about new media?
“For years politicians have searched for ways to go around the media – to avoid the so-called gatekeepers in the Parliamentary Press Gallery and elsewhere and present their message directly to voters. As we all know, John Howard used talkback radio with this in mind. But now the digital revolution has not only knocked down the gates. It has also provided a host of new ways for politicians to reach out to voters “(Oakes 2012 in Media Watch 2013 )
New (social) media has been harnessed as a new political battlefield, or “From Web 2.0 to Gov 2.0” (Ting 2011). Politicians now use social media to directly reach out to their audience without having to go through the process of doing a press conference, or an interview with a journalist who may “frame” the story.
So who wears the pants? While it seems that the media maintain the upper-hand through traditional media news framing, the government will never abandon this form of media. While new social media allows them to directly relay their message, they are not reaching the political movers, the voters who read the papers, the voters who will win them the election. This is why, media, government and politics, is a three way street. All three components rely on one another to carry out their function, thus feeding off each other in an unbalanced, constantly-changing environment.
List of References
Ting, P., 2011, ‘User Generated Government’, in San Francisco Government Fresh, <http://sf.govfresh.com/user-generated-government/ >, accessed 30 April 2013.
Media Watch, 2013, Bypassing the Gatekeepers’, in Australian Broadcasting Corporation,<http://www.abc.net.au/mediawatch/transcripts/s3742728.htm > , accessed 30 April 2013.