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Internet, mass media impact press-government relations

In today’s world, talk about what goes in our nation’s Capital is common place. But are we really being told everything that takes place?

On Feb. 24, former host of CNN’s Crossfire and nationally syndicated radio show host Bill Press spoke to a group of about 15 Furman students and faculty members in McEachern Lecture Hall about the relationship between media and politics. The lecture was called Political Press: Washington Perspective.

In his lecture, Press explained the fundamental goals of the media and the government in their contributions to Washington. The media, he said, is working to inform the people and does so by investigating the activities of the government while the government works to address the people’s needs. Press said that there is a constant “tension between elected officials and the media as to what information is released”.

In the age of news streaming, most media outlets are eager to generate content that can be replayed during daytime broadcasts. Press warned that this content isn’t always quality and could be inaccurate or watered down from the actual report.

However, Press argued that the relationship between politicians and the press wasn’t always a distant one. Press gave the example of Teddy Roosevelt, who served as U.S. President from 1901-1909 and would often take reporters and cameramen on camping trips in what would become Yosemite to build support for national parks.”

This close relationship between politicians and the media is one that has been changed by the evolving Internet and new media platforms. “Politicians can now make the news instantaneously through a tweet or video.” Press said. “Hilary Clinton announced she was running in the 2012 elections with a video.”

However, with all of these changes, Press stated that there is “very little quality control.” Everyone with Internet capabilities is a journalist but it is important to figure out how to use these assets wisely. In order to encourage the production of quality media, Press emphasized the importance of finding a good substantive media outlet and supporting it. “We get what we want from the media” he asserted “and it’s entirely our responsibility to interpret it.”

The event was sponsored by the Paladin Network, a student run TV broadcast group that produces videos for YouTube upload.

(Image courtesy if Shutterstock.com)

Last updated March 3, 2015
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Clinton Colmenares
News & Media Relations Director