PS1264 3rd Paper - American Politics and the Media By Emily...

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American Politics and the Media By Emily Wilson PS 1264: American Politics Through Film Professor Hurwitz 1
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The media has been a force in the political world for over a century. From pamphlets to newspapers to television and film, the media has played an increasing role in shaping the public’s opinion and beliefs over the years due to the increasing accessibility and volume of news sources. Two great films that portray the effect of the media on politics are Alan Pakula’s All the President’s Men and Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane . Both films address the role of the media in politics. Citizen Kane focuses on the private life of a public man while All the President’s Men portrays the investigation of the Watergate scandal. All the President’s Men ultimately is more successful than Citizen Kane at portraying the media in politics because Citizen Kane focuses on the flaws of an individual while All the President’s Men focuses on the role of the media to bring down a flawed administration. Both films use plot, tone, dialog, and lighting to effect the message. Both films share their depiction of the importance and influence of the media. Citizen Kane tells the story of Charles Foster Kane, a newspaper tycoon who is based on the real life William Randolph Hearst. The film is narrated and told in flashbacks. It begins with Kane’s death and his final word being “Rosebud.” A reporter, Jerry Thompson is assigned the task of discovering who is Rosebud. He goes about researching Kane’s past and interviewing Kane’s closest companions and colleagues. Thompson discovers that Kane emerged from humble beginnings as the son of boarding house owners who find a gold mine on their property striking it rich. Kane’s mother wanted him to be educated properly, so she put him under the guardianship of Walter Parks Thatcher and sent him away to school in the East. Kane accessed full control of his trust fund at age 25, yet the only asset that interested him is a newspaper acquired in a foreclosure deal. Kane made this small newspaper wildly successful with his ruthless tactics and manipulation of information to sell papers with big headlines even if these headlines were not 2
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true. Kane’s Anti-Spanish headlines were believed to have spearheaded the Spanish-American War, as did Hearst’s in real life. Kane first marriage was to the niece of the president of the United States of America, Emily Norton. Kane’s long hours at the newspaper and apathy led this marriage to deteriorate. Kane ran for governor of New York and appeared to be the favorite to win until his scandal with “singer” Susan Alexander was exposed, ruining his marriage and political dreams. He then married Susan after divorcing Emily. Kane launched Susan into an opera career she had neither the interest nor talent for. This marriage ended badly as well due to Kane’s selfishness and inability to truly care for another person. Thompson discovers much personal information about Kane, but never who “Rosebud” is.
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