Politics of Journalism

CMC Government 115, Spring 2015

Monday and Wednesday 11 AM - 12:15 PM  Classroom:  Roberts South 102

J.J. Pitney -- Office: Kravis 232

Telephone: 909/607-4224

Office Hours:  Tuesdays 3-5 PM, Thursdays 1-3 PM

If these times are inconvenient, please make an appointment! (Seriously.)

 Email: jpitney@cmc.edu  

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

Also see my Media links page

 

General

   

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

Classes  

 

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:

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


Grades  

Details

Required Books 

Schedule (subject to change, with advance notice). 

 

Jan 21: 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 26, 28: Ownership and Regulation of the Media


"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 2, 4: News Routines in a Changing Media Landscape


"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

 

FOUR-PAGE ESSAY ASSIGNED FEBRUARY 4, DUE IN SAKAI DROPBOX BY FEBRUARY 19.

  

Feb 9, 11:  Audiences and Media Impact  

 

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

Feb 16, 18: Campaigns and Elections I


 "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.

Feb 23, 25:  Campaigns and Elections II


"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.

SIX-PAGE ESSAY ASSIGNED FEBRUARY 23, DUE IN SAKAI DROPBOX BY THURSDAY, MARCH 12

Mar 2, 4: 
Bias I

 

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

Mar 9, 11:  Bias II


"[The] press corps itself, under immense financial and technological pressure, is in the process of remaking itself to fit a polarized country where users increasingly choose opinionated news sources that suit their own tastes. The result, six years into the Obama term, is that the administration and the press are in essence tweeting past each other, even as each decries its treatment at the hands of the other. The White House suspects that reporters intentionally sensationalize their stories; reporters suspect that the White House plays with the facts to get its message out. Both suspicions are correct."  -- former Obama press aide Reid Cherlin
Mar 16, 18: Spring Break

March 23, 25:  News and Governing I

When the president proposes an agenda that Congress refuses to consider then, like the tree in the forest, no one really cares whether it makes a sound. Anyone remember the health-reform plan that was the centerpiece of President George W. Bush's 2006 State of the Union? The media tends to obscure this fact. We cover American politics like an episode of the West Wing — the main character is the president and everyone else is, at best, a supporting player. That's how you get bills like "Obamacare."  -- Ezra Klein

SIX-PAGE ESSAY ASSIGNED MARCH 23, DUE IN SAKAI DROPBOX BY THURSDAY, APRIL 9.

Mar 30, Apr 1:  News and Governing II

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

Apr 6, 8:  News and Governing III

 

"The St. Louis County And Municipal Police Academy, which encompasses Ferguson, is offering a `Continuing Education' course in October entitled `OFFICER-INVOLVED SHOOTING — YOU CAN WIN WITH THE MEDIA.' The class is billed as `fast-paced class is jam-packed with the essential strategies and tactics, skills and techniques' and includes a `detailed case study of Ferguson.'"-- Judd Legum

 Apr 13, 15: International Affairs, International Perspectives

“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.  

  

Apr 20, 22: Alternative Media I


"Jon Stewart may not be the most trusted man in news, but he's more trusted than MSNBC, according to a new survey by the Brookings Institution and the Public Religion Research Institute."  -- Huffington Post, June 10, 2014.
THREE-PAGE ESSAY ASSIGNED APRIL 20, DUE MAY 4.

Apr 27, 29: Alternative Media II


“We have to find ways to break through,” said Dan Pfeiffer, the president’s senior adviser and chief communications strategist. “This is essentially an extension of the code we have been trying to crack for seven years now.” -- Michael D. Shear (CMC `90) of The New York Times, explaining why the president wen ton "Between Two Ferns." May 4, 6: Summing Up

 

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”
 



http://www.onthemedia.org/story/breaking-news-consumers-handbook-pdf/
http://www.onthemedia.org/story/breaking-news-consumers-handbook-airline-edition/