Politics of Journalism

CMC Government 115, Spring 2013

Monday and Wednesday 1:15-2:30  Classroom:  Bauer 23

J.J. Pitney -- Office: Kravis 232

Telephone: 909/607-4224

Office Hours:  Tuesday and Thursday 1-3 PM 

If these times are inconvenient, please make an appointment

 Email: jpitney@cmc.edu  

Web:  http://www.cmc.edu/pages/faculty/JPitney/

Also see my Media links page




This course studies the linkages between the media and political figures.  It asks:



Class sessions will include lecture and discussion.  Finish each week's readings before the class because our discussions will involve those readings.  Do not assume that your instructor agrees with everything in the assigned readings, or that you must do so.  Feel free to agree or disagree with any of the material, provided that you can back up what you say.


We shall discuss breaking stories, so you should read newspapers or on-line news sources every day.   




Our class blog is at http://gov115.blogspot.com .  I shall post videos, graphs, news stories, and other material there.  We shall use some of this material in class, and you may review the rest at your convenience.   You will all receive invitations to post to the blog.  (Please let me know if you do not get such an invitation.)  I encourage you to use the blog in these ways:

Remember that the blog is on the open Internet. Post nothing that would look bad to a potential employer.



Two four-page essays:     

20% each   

Six-page paper


Take-home final exam:     


Class participation/blog:  


Required Books 

Schedule (subject to change, with advance notice). 


Jan 23: Introduction   


“But, that's all right, it's okay. You can look the other way. We can try to understand The New York Times’ effect on man.”  -- The Bee Gees      


Jan 28, 30: Media History I


Charles Foster Kane: Read the cable. 
Bernstein: "Girls delightful in Cuba. Stop. Could send you prose poems about scenery, but don't feel right spending your money. Stop. There is no war in Cuba, signed Wheeler." Any answer? 
Charles Foster Kane: Yes. "Dear Wheeler: you provide the prose poems. I'll provide the war."

Feb 4, 6: Media History II

“Don't look at the camera! Just go by -- like you're fighting!” -- Francis Ford Coppola in Apocalypse Now  

“The troops landing in Somalia yesterday jumped from their rubber boats and headed into the dunes -- and into the glare of television lights.   More than 75 reporters and camera crews were waiting on the beach with microphones on and videotape rolling.” New York Times, 12/9/92.  





Feb 11, 13:  Ownership and Regulation of the Media  


"Imagine a world without free knowledge." -- Wikipedia, January 18, 2012


Feb 18, 20: Organization, and Operating Procedure     


It's simple television economics, Kyle. All it takes to kill a show forever is get one episode pulled. If we convince the network to pull this episode for the sake of Muslims, then the Catholics can demand a show they don't like get pulled. And then people with disabilities can demand another show get pulled. And so on and so on, until Family Guy is no more! It's exactly what happened to Laverne & Shirley." -- Eric Cartman

Feb 25, 27:  Reporting

-- CNN, June 28, 2012




Mar 4, 6: Public Opinion and Advocacy


"Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it." -- Saul Alinsky

Mar 11, 13:  News and Governing I


"In this town, you're either a source or a target." -- Robert D. Novak  


Mar 18, 20: Spring Break


Mar 25, 27:  News and Governing II


Kick 'em when they're up
Kick 'em when they're down
Kick 'em when they're up
Kick 'em all around    -- Don Henley, “Dirty Laundry”




Apr 1, 3:  News and Governing III


"When I turned on my computer this morning, I had over two million unique visitors all looking for the truth." -- Alan Krumwiede (Jude Law) in Contagion


Apr 8, 10: Campaigns I


"I think the presidency ought to be held at a higher level than having to answer questions from a snowman."  -- Mitt Romney on a 2008 debate with a YouTube question about global warming from a snowman.


Apr 15, 17: Campaigns II


"Best-case case scenario: That dude's hammered. Worse-case scenario: That is Perry sober and every time we've seen him previously, he's been hammered. Or there is one other explanation: Rick Perry just got back from the dentist." - Jon Stewart, commenting on a YouTube video of the Texas governor.

Apr 22, 24:  Bias I


"The press is the enemy." -- Richard M. Nixon


Apr 29, May 1:  Bias II

 Im not going to sit here and complain about coverage of the campaign because, as a candidate, if you do that, youre losing. -- Chris Christie

May 6, 8;  Bias III, Summing Up


Merriam-Webster's #1 Word of the Year for 2006 based on votes from visitors to our Web site:
1. truthiness (noun)
1 : `truth that comes from the gut, not books` (Stephen Colbert, Comedy Central's `The Colbert Report,' October 2005)
2 : `the quality of preferring concepts or facts one wishes to be true, rather than concepts or facts known to be true' (American Dialect Society, January 2006)"