My Midterm Review

My Midterm Review - COMM 125 Midterm February 20 I...

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COMM 125 Midterm: February 20 I. Democratic theory—what the media should be doing: There are three main ideas of what the media should do: the information for self-government argument, the burglar alarm argument, and the public sphere argument. A The information for self-government argument states that the media should provide citizens with the necessary information to make intelligent, informed decisions concerning society. The media should inform the public of important events , such as elections and their components (namely, the candidates and their respective platforms); relevant social conditions , such as poverty, racial inequalities, and environmental problems; possible solutions , including proposed policies and actual policy decisions currently in effect; and finally, how the abovementioned policies will affect us (for example, how environmental policies will require us to change our everyday habits). a There do exist journals and news companies that work towards this end: comprehensive publications such as The Economist and possibly The New York Times aim to give the public enough information to make informed decisions. News channels such as CNN have web pages outlining candidate positions and voting history. However, the limited audience of these periodicals is testament to the burglar alarm’s contention—that citizens are simply too busy and disinterested to actively pursue information. B The burglar alarm argument counters the first argument, contending that citizens are too busy with their own lives— jobs, families, hobbies, and the like—to truly become experts in social matters. Furthermore, one vote does not have enough of an impact on the outcome to justify the time and effort needed to become an active, informed participant. In the American democratic system, citizens aren’t in charge of selecting candidates and policies; social elites, such as senators and presidents, drive policy decisions. Citizens thus cannot directly affect policy decisions but must rather indirectly influence society by selecting the elites . Consequently, it’s irrational for any regular citizen to spend much time familiarizing themselves with political and social decisions. Media, as a result, should not even attempt to inform citizens. It should serve instead as a burglar alarm, drawing citizen attention to social problems only when necessary —and it’s rarely necessary. Instead, the media should focus on entertainment and diversions , such as self- improvement shows, sports, and dramas. The downside of this viewpoint is that it creates an uninformed public removed from making political decisions and, as a result, destroys all vestiges of a democracy . Citizens will make decisions based on personal experience instead of actual platforms , causing them to focus more on candidate character. a
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My Midterm Review - COMM 125 Midterm February 20 I...

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