Politics and the Media
(This course was first given, and geared to, the events leading to the U.S. Presidential election of 2008)
Taught at Sage College of Albany, NY.
(First session - Fall Semester 2008)
None, though there will be extensive individual research required in libraries, newspapers, magazines, on-line and the like as we go from topic to topic. The nature of the course lends itself to a free flowing of information and perspectives from as many sources as we can manage. Be forewarned, I've found that in a course structure like this you will probably do more reading than in one that uses a traditional text book.
In the forefront of news coverage today is, quite rightly, Politics. With a Presidential election in the balance, discussions of politics have increased around the water coolers and campuses throughout the nation. But what exactly is Politics? Who is involved and who should be? And how do those in whose power these elections are to be decided, namely us the voters, get their information? What credence should be given to the accuracy and truthfulness of that information? And where are the biases that either overtly or covertly color the perspectives of that information?
This course, "Politics and the Media" strives to address all of these questions and more as we delve into the nature and activity of political discourse and action. By approaching the questions from as many diverse perspectives as possible it is hoped that a truer understanding of the actual mechanics can be revealed of all the constituent parts. Those parts not only include the politicians, political parties and the groups who influence and control them, but, also the media in all its traditional and evolving forms and more non-traditional sources of information keyed to “helping” us voters make up our minds in the voting booth. And let's not forget the voters themselves and all the bias and untapped power wielding they hold in their hands in making up their minds.
We hope to touch on all aspects of political decision making and information sourcing, from Electoral College to College elections, from PACs to policy making, through ethics, truth, opinion and facts, from issues to inauguration. We will cover as much of the topic as we can in order to give the broadest perspective and open-est minds so we can do our civic duties as fully informed, citizen voters.
What you can expect to get out of this course:
It is hoped that you will take from this course a questioning attitude, one that doubts what you are told until you have the proof or evidence before you to decide for yourself. If you open your eyes to the bias and true intentions of those who provide you information or request your support or vote in the election, then you can render your own, well informed opinion and make your own choices as to for whom to vote. Ending the semester with a healthy skepticism and an understanding that every perspective has a slant of which you should be aware is a goal for the students in this course.
What you are expected to put into this course:
This course will not spoon feed you the right answers. Rather, this course is intended to point you in the directions for finding your own answers, for investigating and forming your own opinions on the topics that are most important to you. You will be expected to bring a questioning mind as well as a willingness to seek out answers and uncover further questions to assist in forming a well rounded and grounded opinion from which to make your own political choices. In a very real sense, you will get out of this class in exact proportions to what you put into it.