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# The media‘s particular understanding of the ways of influence and

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The media‘s particular understanding of the ways of influence and  [#permalink]

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20 Sep 2018, 16:44
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The media‘s particular understanding of the ways of influence and decision-making in government colours the way they describe political reality. It also defines their responsibility in reporting that reality; contemporary reporters are in many ways the grandchildren of the Progressive muckrakers.

Few aspects of American politics reinforce this Progressive world-view as effectively as the American way of campaign finance. In assuming that public officials defer to contributors more easily than they do to their party, their own values, or their voting constituency, one has the perfect dramatic scenario for the triumph of wealthy special interests over the will of majorities and the public interest.

Much has been made recently about campaign finance reform. Various politicians and voters' rights groups have petitioned for a reworking of the campaign finance laws that govern how political candidates can solicit and spent money on their races for office.

"Bias" is a word with many meanings. It suggests a single explanation—one of conscious, even wilful preference—for a range of instances in which the message misinterprets or misconveys the reality. The media have been attacked as biased in a partisan direction by both Democrats and Republicans, and from both the left and the right. To be sure, media partisanship was apparent in earlier times, when the partisan press was little more than a propagandist for the party it favoured.

But that overtly biased style seems to have given way in the 20 century to a media more concerned with gaining audience than political proselytes, and an electronic media fearful of government regulation if it strays into political controversy. Few objective observers of, for instance, the reporting of campaign finance would argue that conventional biases are operating here. Rather one has to look to more intrinsic and ingrained forms, to the structural biases of American newspapers and the political assumptions of their reporters, editors, and headline-writers. Structural biases are rooted in the very nature of journalism—in its professional norms, in marketplace imperatives, in the demands of communicating information to an unsophisticated audience.

Stories need identifiable actors, understandable activity, and elements of conflict, threat or menace. They cannot be long, and must avoid complexity—must focus on the horserace rather than on the substance of a campaign; on controversy, personalities and negative statistics rather than on concepts. These define the "good" story. Systematic bias and political assumption, finally, meet in an analytical conundrum. A systematic bias dictates that newspapers print stories that will be read. But does the press publish the story because readers have been conditioned by newspapers to accept and believe such accounts, or does it publish the story because of its conviction that it represents political truth? Is there really any difference? Ultimately, the Progressive view of reality becomes a part of the imperatives of publishing a newspaper.
Source:RC99

1. In the course of presenting his arguments, the author suggests that structural biases in American journalism result primarily—but not necessarily exclusively—from:
A. problems intrinsic to the publishing and marketing of newspapers.
B. suppositions of journalists about the integrity of public officials.
C. reporters‘ cynicism about the public‘s level of intelligence.
D. growing competition among newspapers for a shrinking audience.
E. increasing influence of foreign nations

2. According to the passage, which of the following would indicate structural biases inherent in journalists‘ work?

A. An article that adheres loyally to Progressivist dictates
B. An article that successfully masks its biased opinions
C. An article that is informed by political sophistication
D. An article that is entertaining and easy to comprehend
E. An article that criticises the current government

3. Which of the following best describes the "analytical conundrum" referred to in the sentence, "Systematic bias and political assumption, finally, meet in an analytical conundrum," in the last paragraph?

A. Newspapers promote Progressive ideas in which they do not believe.

B. Since systematic biases and political assumptions have similar effects, it is difficult to differentiate their roles in journalistic publishing decisions.

C. Systematic biases and political assumptions exert contradictory and conflicting pressures on newspaper publishers.

D. Readers‘ preferences for dramatic news accounts reflecting Progressive ideas, rather than journalists‘ objective understanding of the political system, determine what is published.

E. the confusion over what types of articles to publish in newspapers

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Re: The media‘s particular understanding of the ways of influence and  [#permalink]

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02 Oct 2018, 18:10

+1 kudos to the posts containing answer explanations of all questions

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Re: The media‘s particular understanding of the ways of influence and  [#permalink]

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07 Dec 2018, 21:26

Topic and Scope:

discusses biases inherent in American journalism.

Mapping the Passage

¶1 describes how media‘s understanding and view of politics shades their reporting on it.
¶s2 and 3 give an example of this in a specific situation: campaign financing.
¶s4 and 5 argue that outright political bias is less prevalent in modern America than are structural biases and political assumptions.
¶6 describes both structural bias and political assumption.
¶7 describes the circular relationship between the media and public: the media writes what the public will buy, but the public buys what the media has conditioned it to want.
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Re: The media‘s particular understanding of the ways of influence and  [#permalink]

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07 Dec 2018, 21:28
1

Official Answers and Explanations

Q1) Where does the author discuss the reasons for structural bias? Review the beginning of ¶6: the author says that the structural biases are ―rooted in the very nature of journalism.‖ (A), which suggests that bias comes from intrinsic issues with the industry, reflects this view.
(A): The correct answer
(B): Faulty Use of Detail. This describes political assumptions, not structural biases.
(C): Distortion. Though the passage mentions that structural bias arises partly from ―the demands of communicating information to an unsophisticated audience,‖ the passage doesn‘t say that reporters are cynical about readers‘ intelligence, only that the intelligence may in fact be unsophisticated.
(D): Distortion. Though the passage mentions ―marketplace imperatives‖ it doesn‘t go so far as to say that the audience is shrinking.
(E): Foreign nations are outside the scope of the passage.

Q2) Go back to the beginning of ¶6 to review what structural biases consist of. Most of structural bias has to do with selling newspapers to an unsophisticated audience, so look for a situation that exemplifies this. (D) fits perfectly.
(A): Opposite. This would go against the author‘s idea that most journalism isn‘t overly partisan anymore. Even though newspapers are progressive according to the author, they wouldn‘t adhere loyally to the dictates of one position.
(B): Opposite. As above, the author doesn‘t think that the media is overly biased in its opinions.(C): Opposite. The author says that the media has to play to an unsophisticated audience, and so this would suggest something that went against structural bias.
(D): The correct answer
(E): Incorrect, as described above.

Q3) Summarize the main idea of ¶7: it‘s hard to tell systematic bias from political assumption because the newspapers write (with their political assumptions) what the public wants to read (thus driving systematic bias).(B) paraphrases this.
(A): Faulty Use of Detail. Though the author argues in ¶s 2 and 7 that newspapers support a ―Progressivist world view,‖ it does nothing to describe the ―conundrum‖ described in ¶7.
(B): The correct answer
(C): Opposite. The author is arguing that they have more or less the same effect, which is why they‘re so hard to tell apart.
(D): Faulty Use of Detail. While this might be true, it‘s only part of the puzzle. This choice includes the element of systematic bias (the desires of the audience) but nothing about the political assumptions of those writing the newspapers.
(E): Incorrect, as described above.
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Re: The media‘s particular understanding of the ways of influence and  [#permalink]

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08 Dec 2018, 22:12
2
Q1). In the course of presenting his arguments, the author suggests that structural biases in American journalism result primarily—but not necessarily exclusively—from:
A. problems intrinsic to the publishing and marketing of newspapers. - "Rather one has to look to more intrinsic and ingrained forms, to the structural biases of American newspapers and the political assumptions of their reporters, editors, and headline-writers. " given in para 6
B. suppositions of journalists about the integrity of public officials. - out of scope
C. reporters‘ cynicism about the public‘s level of intelligence. - Inconsistent
D. growing competition among newspapers for a shrinking audience. - out of scope
E. increasing influence of foreign nations - Out of scope

Q2). According to the passage, which of the following would indicate structural biases inherent in journalists‘ work? - Detail question type
A. An article that adheres loyally to Progressivist dictates - opposite
B. An article that successfully masks its biased opinions - opposite
C. An article that is informed by political sophisticationb- opposite
D. An article that is entertaining and easy to comprehend last line of para 6 says about the "communicating information" and that is the good story given in 7 th para
E. An article that criticises the current government - Inconistent

Q3). Which of the following best describes the ―analytical conundrum‖ referred to in the sentence, ―Systematic bias and political assumption, finally, meet in an analytical conundrum,‖ in the last paragraph?
A. Newspapers promote Progressive ideas in which they do not believe. - Inconsistent
B. Since systematic biases and political assumptions have similar effects, it is difficult to differentiate their roles in journalistic publishing decisions.- that is the same which is asked by the author
C. Systematic biases and political assumptions exert contradictory and conflicting pressures on newspaper publishers. - out of scope
D. Readers‘ preferences for dramatic news accounts reflecting Progressive ideas, rather than journalists‘ objective understanding of the political system, determine what is published. - inconsistent
E. the confusion over what types of articles to publish in newspapers - Inconsistent
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Re: The media‘s particular understanding of the ways of influence and  [#permalink]

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19 Dec 2018, 10:53
2
1. In the course of presenting his arguments, the author suggests that structural biases in American journalism result primarily—but not necessarily exclusively—from:
A. problems intrinsic to the publishing and marketing of newspapers. - "Rather one has to look to more intrinsic and ingrained forms, to the structural biases of American newspapers and the political assumptions of their reporters, editors, and headline-writers. " This line confirms that.
B. suppositions of journalists about the integrity of public officials. - out of scope
C. reporters‘ cynicism about the public‘s level of intelligence. - out of scope
D. growing competition among newspapers for a shrinking audience. - out of scope
E. increasing influence of foreign nations - out of scope

2. According to the passage, which of the following would indicate structural biases inherent in journalists‘ work?

A. An article that adheres loyally to Progressivist dictates - out of scope
B. An article that successfully masks its biased opinions - out of scope
C. An article that is informed by political sophistication - out of scope
D. An article that is entertaining and easy to comprehend - given in last para
E. An article that criticises the current government - Inconsistent

3. Which of the following best describes the "analytical conundrum" referred to in the sentence, "Systematic bias and political assumption, finally, meet in an analytical conundrum," in the last paragraph?

It represents the confusion between the good story and what should actually be written.

A. Newspapers promote Progressive ideas in which they do not believe. - Inconsistent.

B. Since systematic biases and political assumptions have similar effects, it is difficult to differentiate their roles in journalistic publishing decisions. - Inconsistent.

C. Systematic biases and political assumptions exert contradictory and conflicting pressures on newspaper publishers. - out of scope

D. Readers‘ preferences for dramatic news accounts reflecting Progressive ideas, rather than journalists‘ objective understanding of the political system, determine what is published. - As analyzed above.

E. the confusion over what types of articles to publish in newspapers - Inconsistent
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Re: The media‘s particular understanding of the ways of influence and   [#permalink] 19 Dec 2018, 10:53
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# The media‘s particular understanding of the ways of influence and

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