COM 3340: Politics & Media


This course explores the profound influence of the media on Western political systems, tracing the evolution of this impact through comprehensive coverage of news, the visibility of political candidates, the dissemination of political messages, and the shaping of public opinion up to the present day. As we delve into the dynamic role that media plays in politics, students will gain an understanding of how media has historically molded different political landscapes and continues to do so in an era dominated by digital platforms.
The course will particularly address the complex phenomena of misinformation, post-truth, fake news, propaganda, manipulation, and disinformation within the global media landscape. Through examining these concepts and their practical applications, students will explore how contemporary world politics is influenced by sophisticated forms of "alternative facts," leading to significant polarization within political arenas and society at large.
Our study will begin by laying a foundation in contemporary journalism practices such as newsworthiness and fact-checking, with a special focus on online media. This foundational knowledge will equip students to critically analyze the mechanisms through which media can alter perceptions and spread misinformation. Throughout the course, we will engage with various case studies and media artifacts to understand the strategies employed by media entities to influence public discourse and opinion.
By the end of this course, students will be equipped with critical media literacy skills enabling them to discern and analyze the accuracy of information encountered in media. They will also understand the ethical responsibilities of media professionals and the implications of media practices on democracy and public trust. This course is designed to foster informed citizens who can effectively navigate the complexities of the media landscape in their daily lives and future careers.