The Media and Politics in the United States (MEPO0104)

Fall - October 17–December 20, 2020
Days & Time:
Sunday, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Tim Novak

Course Description

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: 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 the United States? What has the impact been of the new information technologies on the traditional media and on the political role of citizens? Against the backdrop of these questions, we critically assess the political significance of social media and the increasing “weaponization” of information. In particular, we examine the extent to which these new developments limit the ability of citizens to participate meaningfully in society and politics, while at the same time challenging longstanding assumptions about the role of journalism and political communication in America’s system of democratic government.

The central goal of this course is to provide students with a deeper understanding of the factors that characterize effective communication strategies, and to equip them with the tools necessary to be more intelligent, critical consumers of all forms of political communication. The course includes asynchronous work, which students are expected to complete between class sessions.

MEPO0104 | Call Number: 22950 | View this listing on the Directory of Courses


Tim Novak

Tim Novak holds an M.A. and a Ph.D. in media sociology from the New School for Social Research as well as a B.A. in humanities from the University of California, San Diego. For over twenty-five years he has been teaching college-level courses in sociology, media, and communications. His research focuses on the relationships between media, technology, social movements, persuasion, and identity formation.

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Specific course details such as topics, activities, hours, and instructors are subject to change at the discretion of the University. Not all instructors listed for a course teach all sections of that course.