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agenda-setting theory
the theory that the media’s power rests in its ability to decide which topics the public will see and which ones they won’t
mathematical sets of rules that, when applied to the Internet or social media (for example), search, sort, and rank things based on predictions about what users should see
altruistic democracy
the ideal held up by the media that politics should be based on public service and serve the public interest
asynchronous content
content that can be shared among a network of people outside the constraints of time and space
barriers to entry
the economic cost to newcomers in a marketplace
Cato’s letters
a collection of essays written in the 1720s by British writers John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon under the pseudonym Cato in order to criticize the British monarchy for its corruption and tyrannical practices
echo chambers
online environments in which the same opinions are repeatedly voiced and promoted to the exclusion of opposing views
in the context of the news, the idea that the media of a country values that country above all other nations
Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
the US government commission that currently oversees radio, television, wire, and Internet
fourth estate
a term for the media that casts it as an unofficial fourth branch of government that checks the other branches of government
framing theory
the theory that the way the media frames political information can affect people’s understanding of it
free media
media coverage that political candidates do not pay for, such as news coverage by local reporters
the process by which information and topics are filtered and selected by the media
horse-race coverage
media coverage of political campaigns that focuses on winners and losers rather than policy issues
media concentration
the idea that ownership of the media rests in the hands of the few, taking the form of an oligopoly
mediated information
information that is not received directly from the source, such as the government, but comes via a third party, such as the media
incorrect information that is spread regardless of intent to mislead
movable type
a system of movable letters that can be reused to repeatedly print text
ownership by a few individuals or entities
Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)
the world’s largest intergovernmental organization dedicated to security, elections, human rights, and press freedom
pack journalism
the idea that journalists sharing professional values can lead to the homogeneous nature of news content
paid media
media that political candidates pay for, such as campaign ads on television or the Internet
polarization feedback loop
the theory that rising polarization among political elites and the media amplifies the worst of both sides, ultimately feeding into mistrust of the media and polarization of the electorate
political polarization
the divergence of political attitudes toward ideological extremes
the role of the press to act as a check on the government to make sure that it is appropriately serving its purpose
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