Political Science | Media Influence in Amer Pol
Y396 | 1446 | Schaffner

	The course will teach students how to understand, measure, and
evaluate the influence and bias of the mass media in American politics.  I
plan to introduce students to three broad areas.  First, we will explore the
interaction of the media and electoral campaigns.  In elections at all
levels of government, candidates rely heavily upon television and radio
advertising for winning voters' support.  How do these campaign ads
influence voters' perceptions and evaluations?  Is negative advertising more
effective than positive advertising?  Do voters learn more from some
candidates than others?
	The second substantive topic is the news media.  We will discuss how
voters learn
about politics from outlets such as network television, newspapers, and the
Internet.  How
does reliance on these different sources affect the public's knowledge of
politics?  Do
certain outlets report on political events with a liberal or conservative
bias?  Do readers
and listeners of political news only pay attention to information that is
consistent with
their pre-existing beliefs, or does the news affect these pre-existing
	Finally, the course examines how the news media influences the
process in Washington.  Both the president and members of Congress use the
news media
to further their policy and electoral goals.  What are the media strategies
that these
politicians' use?  How do they compete for media coverage?  How do these
strategies and
their interaction affect policy making and subsequent electoral contests?
Is this influence
good or bad, i.e., does it improve or harm the American political system?