POL 2170: Media and Politics
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Course Overview: The mass media is an important political institution and has played an indispensable role in American political history. In order to fully grasp American politics, it is essential we understand how citizens consume and learn from the media. Today, more than ever, Americans have a plethora of choices for how they can follow current events and be exposed to politics, as well as ways to tune out politics entirely. In an era of social media, “fake news,” and low political trust, it is imperative that we study the relationships between media and politics. In this course, we will look at how the media environment shapes political behavior, how it affects political learning, and how (if at all) it can change minds. We will examine how politicians and political campaigns use the media to communicate with citizens to try to achieve their goals and we will investigate allegations of media bias. This course should be of interest to students of political science, psychology, sociology, and communications. We will draw from a wide range of perspectives in order to develop a holistic understanding of how Americans learn about politics, and how the media operates as a “fourth branch” of government. The readings in this course will be a mixture of classic and cutting-edge research, as well as some commentary (and, of course, media content ranging from broadcasts to articles to op-eds to tweets). Students will write a pair of short papers that involve analyses of media content and our readings, as well as complete midterm and final examinations. Goals: • Understand the development of the mass media and its role in American politics • Understand how the interaction among journalists, politicians, and citizens shapes contemporary American politics • Learn how politicians use the media to communicate with citizens • Learn how social scientists ask and answer interesting questions about politics • Hone critical thinking, reading, and writing skills • Become a savvy consumer of political news, in this class and beyond
Incantalupo, Matthew. (2021, Spring). Syllabus, POL 2170: Media and Politics, Yeshiva College, Yeshiva University.
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