You are here

Prostituting the Public Interest in the 2012 Presidential Election

Title: Prostituting the Public Interest in the 2012 Presidential Election: A Political Economic Analysis of Super Pacs in Television News.
Name(s): Smock, Shea, author
Proffitt, Jennifer M., professor directing dissertation
Edwards, Leigh, university representative
McDowell, Stephen, committee member
Opel, Andy, committee member
School of Communication, degree granting department
Florida State University, degree granting institution
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Issuance: monographic
Date Issued: 2014
Publisher: Florida State University
Place of Publication: Tallahassee, Florida
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: In light of the 2010 Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, campaign finance law has been re-regulated to promote freedom of spending in elections. Previously, outside spending in elections was restricted to avoid corruption or the appearance of corruption in the democratic process. Corporations, unions, and individuals can now spend unlimitedly on political advertisements in an attempt to persuade voters. Unlike campaign advertisements, the newly christened Super PACs do not have to approve the message or disclose donors if the money was last received from a nonprofit organization. Super PACs must also pay top dollar for their ad space unlike campaign ads that receive the lowest rates. This has the possibility of creating a massive conflict of interest for the news media. Journalists are expected to serve as watchdogs on these ads so citizens may make informed decisions, but the concentrated media industry is making massive profits from airing them - can we trust them to report on the often misleading and negative ads? This dissertation examines broadcast, cable, and public television news transcripts surrounding Super PAC ads in the 2012 primary and general presidential elections utilizing textual analysis and political economic theory. After exploring the economic structure and ownership of the news media and its coverage of this issue, I argue that we cannot trust the commercial news media to report critically or even accurately on Super PAC advertisers. This analysis attempts to explain how and why the commercial news media failed in its coverage and how it perpetuated problematic ideologies that support the status quo and ignore public opinion and protestation
Identifier: FSU_migr_etd-8891 (IID)
Submitted Note: A Dissertation submitted to the School of Communication in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Degree Awarded: Spring Semester, 2014.
Date of Defense: March 7, 2014.
Keywords: Citizens United, Election, News, Political Economy, Super Pac, Supreme Court
Bibliography Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Advisory Committee: Jennifer M. Proffitt, Professor Directing Dissertation; Leigh Edwards, University Representative; Stephen McDowell, Committee Member; Andy Opel, Committee Member.
Subject(s): Communication
Persistent Link to This Record:
Owner Institution: FSU

Choose the citation style.
Smock, S. (2014). Prostituting the Public Interest in the 2012 Presidential Election: A Political Economic Analysis of Super Pacs in Television News. Retrieved from