Final Exam Study Guide – Govt 158


First of all, everything we have done or discussed in class all semester is fair game.  This includes videos and discussion.


All readings and multimedia content assigned throughout the semester are included.  This means Graber chapters 1,2,4,5,7,8,9,12  and McInerny parts 1,2,4, and 5.  It also includes all of the readings and other content available on LOCUS.


The final is open note, but not open book or printed-out article.  Bring your class notes, and when you are studying, make sure your notes are complete for all of the readings and other content.


Please bring a Scantron 882-e and a large bluebook to the final.


Some specific things to know:


Be able to identify logical fallacies.  You may be given an example and asked to identify the fallacy.


Be able to distinguish between what is and is not ideological bias.


Know what the limits of press coverage were on the coverage of American wars over the 20th and 21st centuries.


Be able to distinguish between models of the press in a democracy versus an authoritarian regime.

Functions of the Media in a Democracy


Watchdog role – what is it?  Is it valued by Americans? (poll numbers)  How does it operate in practice? (context, repetition, need relevant info, etc.


Media exposure – divided audiences, impact on opinion based on sources, what sources are most popular (data from Pew and other surveys presented in class).  Who follows hard news closely – age and other demographic differences in news sources.


Misunderstanding  and knowledge levels by source – Pew study on Iraq war facts.


Political Socialization: Agents of socialization (family, peers, school, religion, media).  Socializing influence of news vs. entertainment vs. advertising.


Political Knowledge:  Minimal effects model, selective exposure, selective perception, selective retention, contingent effects. 


Emotion and memory.  Demographics of informed vs. uninformed.  Which media sources are best for knowledge.


Campaign advertising: Paid vs. Free.  Different media.  Types of appeals made. 4 stage process of political advertising. 3 primary rhetorical purposes of political advertising. Strategies, and differences by gender. Memory and types of ads.


Candidate and officeholder image control: Limiting exposure and how.  Controlling visuals, people, appearance.  Managing message.  Use of language and specific terminology. Undermining press credibility.


Media effects: Priming et al.


Local TV News (content and quality)


Infotainment, soft and hard news.


Spin -- what it is, how it is used, how to detect it.


Video: “Campaign essentials of Politics and the Media”

            (This is the one that covered what the press corps goes through on the campaign trail, being “inside the bubble”, worrying about candidates using “message discipline”, and trying to get access to candidates)


Video: Frontline: Sources and Spin

(This is the recent one on the ways in which the government, and especially the White House perceive the media and try through legal and extra-legal means to keep information from getting out – examples of the Pentagon Papers and recent wiretapping cases).


Video: Campaign Advertisements from Smart Voter

(Sample campaign commercials that were overly emotional, offensive, or simplistic.)


Video: Jon Stewart (you watched it on a furlough day)


Video: "Primetime Politics" (the one on television programs like sitcoms and such and political content)


Video: Truth, Lies and War (about the evolution of government secrecy and press access to American Wars since WWI.)