AP US Government : Media Influence

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP US Government

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Media Influence

A television campaign ad produced by a political candidate may feature all of the following EXCEPT

Possible Answers:

an attack against the candidate's opponent.

a short summation of the campaign's major themes.

a distillation of the candidate's image.

an appeal to the candidate's political party's key base.

a substantive discussion of complex political issues.

Correct answer:

a substantive discussion of complex political issues.

Explanation:

One of the key elements of modern campaigning is the television campaign commercial, which by its very nature has certain attributes. Among these are simplified appeals to a party base, attacks against opponents, simplified messages, and a focus on images. The one thing a short television advertisement cannot do is delve into a substantial discussion of the major issues in the campaign.

Example Question #1 : Portrayal And Image Of Public Figures

Which President was the first to prominently employ radio to communicate with the American people?

Possible Answers:

Woodrow Wilson

John F. Kennedy

Harry Truman

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Ronald Reagan

Correct answer:

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Explanation:

Franklin D. Roosevelt’s "fireside chats" were deeply important and influential to the people of the United States, particularly during World War Two. It was a means for the President to communicate directly with the American people to keep them informed about the war effort and the state of the economy. Roosevelt realized the great potential for mass media in keeping in contact with the masses, and it was a contributing factor to his overwhelming popularity (although not the greatest contributing factor—recovering economy and war patriotism were far more valuable).

Example Question #2 : Media Influence

Libel refers to __________.

Possible Answers:

a campaign ad designed to support a controversial candidate by offering false statements about his or her accomplishments

a president who no longer has a popular mandate to carry out his or her policy goals

the government’s policy of protecting the right of workers to strike without fear of losing their jobs

the fact that the government prohibits the establishment of an official state religion

the publication of slanderous or malicious statements designed to denigrate an individual’s reputation

Correct answer:

the publication of slanderous or malicious statements designed to denigrate an individual’s reputation

Explanation:

Libel, also known as defamation or slander, is the practice of publishing or communicating false information designed to specifically target and weaken the reputation of another group or individual.

Example Question #2 : Portrayal And Image Of Public Figures

Which headline is the the most consistent with the "yellow journalism" approach to reporting?

Possible Answers:

Frederick Douglass Loses at Supreme Court!

Pearl Harbor Slowly Rebuilds from the Ashes!

United States Blocks Spanish out of Cuba!

President Grant Exposed as Ringleader of Whiskey Ring!

Referendum 9 Passes!

Correct answer:

President Grant Exposed as Ringleader of Whiskey Ring!

Explanation:

Yellow journalism focused on sensationalism- violence, romance, patriotism, and exposes of government, politics, business, and society. The four incorrect answers deal with everyday news events, despite the exclamation points at the end. "Yellow journalism" would encourage reporters to investigate any scandals regardless of their validity, and if higher officials could be connected with outrageous headlines would be all the more sensational.

Example Question #3 : Media Influence

Yellow Journalism is a term used to refer to journalism that

Possible Answers:

Seeks to create a public forum for discussion of political issues

Offers equal coverage of each side of an issue

Plays on the racial prejudices of its readership to steer debate

Presents only objective facts about events

Presents a sensationalized view of events in order to sell more newspapers

Correct answer:

Presents a sensationalized view of events in order to sell more newspapers

Explanation:

The term "Yellow Journalism" refers to a type of reporting that presents sensationalized (and often inaccurate) accounts of events in order to attract readers and sell more papers.  The sensationalized and potentially inaccurate accounts of the sinking of the U.S.S. Maine in newspapers published by William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer helped to lead to the Spanish-American War at the end of the 19th Century.

Example Question #4 : Media Influence

The terms "common-carrier role" and "watchdog role" are used to refer to __________.

Possible Answers:

None of these answers is correct.

the role of the Supreme Court to regulate constitutionality in American law

the service that partisan media renders to its party and support base

the tradition that demands the Speaker of the House stay removed from all House debates

the link that the media provides between the people and the government

Correct answer:

the link that the media provides between the people and the government

Explanation:

 "Common-carrier role" refers to the idea that the media acts as a vehicle through which political leaders can communicate with the general public. The "watchdog role" refers to the idea that the media acts as a servant of the people by keeping an eye on politicians, making sure they are not corrupt or negligible in office. Both of these terms relate to the role that the media plays in connecting the government to the people.

Example Question #2 : Influence On Public Opinion

What is the name given to the "leak" of a proposed government policy to the media in order that politicians might observe the public reaction?

Possible Answers:

A trial balloon

A red herring.

A soundbite

A rat leak. 

Narrowcasting

Correct answer:

A trial balloon

Explanation:

A "trial balloon" is information released to the media and framed as if it were an unintentional leak from an unnamed political source; however, the intention is for politicians who are debating a change in policy to observe how the public might react to such a change.

Example Question #31 : Special Interests And Mass Media

The practice of reporting shocking or abhorrent news stories for the sake of expanding readership is called __________.

Possible Answers:

red journalism

yellow journalism

partisan journalism

black journalism

white journalism

Correct answer:

yellow journalism

Explanation:

"Yellow journalism" is the name given to the practice of reporting shocking or abhorrent news stories for the sake of attracting new readers and selling more newspapers. Yellow journalism is generally considered manipulative and bad journalistic practice, but that has not stopped various forms of media throughout American history from participating in it. Yellow journalism is most closely associated with the newspapers of William Randolph Hearst who (some argue) single-handedly dragged the United States into war with Spain by reporting on various news stories inaccurately to characterize the Spanish as violent and barbaric. Partisan journalism is the name given to a media source that serves the interests of a political party above the interests of the general public.

Example Question #3 : Influence On Public Opinion

Which of these do Americans choose most often as a source of news?

Possible Answers:

The internet

Radio

Print

Political mailings

Television

Correct answer:

Television

Explanation:

Since its invention, the television has become the easiest and most widely available means of acquiring political news and commentary.

Example Question #4 : Influence On Public Opinion

When the media engage in agenda setting, they are telling us __________.

Possible Answers:

how to think

who to support

what to think about

what position to take

follow popular opinion

Correct answer:

what to think about

Explanation:

News outlets often choose which stories get the headline or 1st position as well as, how much time is devoted to a subject. This is agenda setting and is the media's most used tool to influence viewers.

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