Office Hours: Tuesday and Thursday 1-3 PM
If these times are inconvenient, please make an appointment
Also see my Media links page
This course studies the linkages between the media and political figures. It asks:
Who runs the media?
How is new technology reshaping American journalism?
How do political figures try to spin the news?
How do press coverage and advertising affect political behavior and public policy?
Do the mass media have a political or social bias?
What ethical standards should journalists observe?
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.
Blog 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: To post questions or comments about the
readings before we discuss them in class; To follow up on class discussions
with additional comments or questions. To post relevant news items or videos.
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:
To post questions or comments about the readings before we discuss them in class;
To follow up on class discussions with additional comments or questions.
To post relevant news items or videos.
Remember that the blog is on the open Internet. Post nothing that would look bad to a potential employer.
Two four-page essays:
Take-home final exam:
The papers will develop your research and writing skills. In grading your papers, I will take account of the quality of your writing, applying the principles of Strunk and White’s Elements of Style. If you object to this approach, do not take this course, or anything else that I teach.
The exam will test your comprehension of course information and concepts.
will hone your ability to think on your feet, as I shall call on students at
random. If you often miss class
or fail to prepare, your grade will suffer.
Because we have a take-home exam instead of a sit-down, I shall use the
cold calls to judge how well you are keeping up with the material.
Class participation will hone your ability to think on your feet, as I shall call on students at random. If you often miss class or fail to prepare, your grade will suffer. Because we have a take-home exam instead of a sit-down, I shall use the cold calls to judge how well you are keeping up with the material.If you object to this approach, do not take this course. I also expect you to post relevant material to the blog.
As a courtesy to your fellow students, please arrive on time, and refrain from eating in class. I reserve the right to withhold class handouts from latecomers. Check due dates for coursework and the exam. Arrange your schedule accordingly. Do not plan on extensions. Plagiarism or any other form of academic dishonesty will result in referral to the Academic Standards Committee. See: http://writing.claremontmckenna.edu/plagiarism.asp
W. Joseph Campbell, Getting It Wrong: Ten of the Greatest Misreported Stories in American Journalism (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2010).
Tim Groseclose, Left Turn: How Liberal Media Bias Distorts the American Mind (New York: St. Martin's, 2011).
Shanto Iyengar, Media Politics: A Citizen's Guide, 2d ed. (New York: Norton, 2011).
Gary Lee Malecha and Daniel J. Reagan, The Public Congress: Congressional Deliberation in a New Media Age (New York: Routledge, 2012).
Schedule (subject to change, with advance notice).
“But, that's all right, it's
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."
Campbell, ch. 1-5.
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.
Campbell, ch. 6-10.
FIRST ESSAY ASSIGNED FEBRUARY 6, DUE FEBRUARY 20
Feb 11, 13:
of the Media
of the Media
"Imagine a world without free knowledge." -- Wikipedia, January 18, 2012
Iyengar, ch. 1-2
Frederick Schauer, "The Exceptional First Amendment," Kennedy School of Government Working Paper No. RWP05-02, February 2005, at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=668543
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
Iyengar, ch. 3, 5
Feb 25, 27: Reporting
-- CNN, June 28, 2012
Iyengar, ch. 4.
Play the "Be a Reporter" game at http://www.newsu.org/courses/be-reporter-game. Registration is free but necessary. Email your course report to me when you have finished.
SECOND ESSAY ASSIGNED FEBRUARY 27, DUE MARCH 13
Mar 4, 6: Public Opinion and Advocacy
"Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it." -- Saul Alinsky
Iyengar, ch. 8
Anthony Downs, "Up and Down with Ecology: The Issue-Attention Cycle," The Public Interest 28 (Summer 1972): 38-50, at http://www.nationalaffairs.com/doclib/20080527_197202804upanddownwithecologytheissueattentioncycleanthonydowns.pdf
Mar 11, 13: News and Governing I
"In this town, you're either a source or a target." -- Robert D. Novak
Iyengar, ch. 7, 10
Robert D. Novak, The Prince of Darkness (New York: Crown Forum, 2007), 359-390.
Mar 18, 20: Spring Break
Mar 25, 27: News and Governing II
'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”
Malecha, ch. 1-4
SIX-PAGE ESSAY ASSIGNED MARCH 25, DUE APRIL 10
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
Malecha, ch. 5-8.
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.
Iyengar, ch. 6, 9.
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
Groseclose, ch. 1-8
"Review Symposium: Does the US Media Have a Liberal Bias?" Perspectives on Politics 10 (September 2012): 767-785.
TAKE-HOME FINAL ASSIGNED APRIL 22, DUE MAY 8.
Apr 29, May 1: Bias II
“I’m not going to sit here and complain about coverage of the campaign because, as a candidate, if you do that, you’re losing.” -- Chris Christie
Groseclose, ch. 9-17.
May 6, 8; Bias III, Summing Up
Groseclose, ch. 18-22
Iyengar, ch. 11.