The Media and Politics
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“The amount I’ve learned in the past 3 weeks has been incredible. You learn about others’ opinions, about current issues, and this totally changes the way you see things!” — Anisa Tapia, 2014
This course explores a broad range of questions concerning the relationship between the media and politics, with a focus on historical and contemporary issues presented in the American context: Does the government control the media—or do the media control the government? Do the news media educate or manipulate the citizenry? What is the role of the press in a democracy and how does the First Amendment protect the press in America? And what has the impact been of the new information technologies—most recently, the “blogosphere”—upon the traditional media and upon the political role of citizens?
We focus on a number of national and global events, from the past and the present, in which the relation between the media and politics have come into stark relief or have been redefined. Topics from the American experience include investigative journalism during Watergate, manipulation of the news in presidential campaigns, coverage of the Iraq War, and Supreme Court decisions on clear and present danger. Students investigate global issues based on their individual interests and in consultation with the instructor.
Students engage with the material through a combination of lectures, daily discussions, in-class debates, guest speakers from the world of journalism and politics, and a field trip to a live news broadcast. Assigned readings range from classic philosophic texts to First Amendment cases.
Michelle Chun is a JD/PhD candidate in Columbia’s Law School and Department of Political Science, where she focuses on legal and political theory. Her dissertation examines issues in contemporary democratic theory and jurisprudence through the lens of John Dewey’s thought. At Columbia, she has served as a teaching assistant in courses on justice, the history of human rights, the First Amendment, and Middle Eastern politics, among others, and as a writing consultant at the University’s Writing Center. She holds an MA, MPhil, and JD from Columbia and an undergraduate degree with highest honors in social studies from Harvard College.
Specific course information, such as hours and instructors, are subject to change at the discretion of the University.