Political Messages to Work

Assessment Time to put your knowledge of the evolving role of the media in political messages to work! You’ve been asked by a popular news organization to create a web article for their official website that will help the public understand the role that media plays in politics. Your product will first explain your analysis of a media item and then describe how the role of media in politics has changed over time. Steps Choose a visual, text, or other media item that is political in nature. This list provides some examples of media items you may use and guidance on where to locate other examples on the Internet. Be sure to include the media item, or directions on how to access it, with your assessment. Analyze the political message delivered by your chosen media item. In two well-written paragraphs, explain the background of the image, text, or video and explain what bias the message reveals and how. The background paragraph should include who created the media item, when, for whom, and for what purpose. The analysis paragraph should explain the bias in the media item. What strategies does the media item use to persuade people? (examples are symbolism and emotional appeal) Write a third well-written paragraph that answers the following question, in your own words. How have the media changed over time, and how has this affected political communication? List Select one of the following media items for your assessment. Remember, you must provide the source or information on how to access the source with your assessment.

TV Commercial Television advertisements from recent elections are readily available from multiple internet sources, such as the   Living Room Candidate . Select this image to see a politcal advertisement:  © 2011 The Associated Press Political Cartoon This political cartoon is from the Civil War era; select this image to see a politcal cartoon:  © 2011 The Associated Press Political cartoons related to recent political events and issues are accessible from multiple internet sources, such as the   Cagle Post . Debate This debate excerpt is from the 2008 presidential campaign: MCCAIN: Somehow in Washington today–and I’m afraid on Wall Street–greed is rewarded, excess is rewarded, and corruption–or certainly failure to carry out our responsibility is rewarded. As president of the United States, people are going to be held accountable in my administration. And I promise you that that will happen. LEHRER: Do you have something directly to say, Senator Obama, to Senator McCain about what he just said? OBAMA: Well, I think Senator McCain’s absolutely right that we need more responsibility, but we need it not just when there’s a crisis. I mean, we’ve had years in which the reigning economic ideology has been what’s good for Wall Street, but not what’s good for Main Street. (later) MCCAIN: You’ve got to look at our record. You’ve got to look at our records. That’s the important thing. Who’s the person who has believed that the best thing for America is to have a tax system that is fundamentally fair? And I’ve fought to simplify it, and I have proposals to simplify it. Let Americans choose whether they want the existing tax code or they want a new tax code. Again, look at the record, particularly the energy bill. But, again, Senator Obama has shifted on a number of occasions. He has voted in the United States Senate to increase taxes on people who make as low as $42,000 a year. OBAMA: That’s not true, John. That’s not true. MCCAIN: And that’s just a fact. Again, you can look it up. OBAMA: Look, it’s just not true. And if we want to talk about oil company profits, under your tax plan, John—this is undeniable—oil companies would get an additional $4 billion in tax breaks. Now, look, we all would love to lower taxes on everybody. But here’s the problem: If we are giving them to oil companies, then that means that there are those who are not going to be getting them. Inaugural Address This excerpt is from the opening of President George W. Bush’s Second Inaugural Address: “On this day, prescribed by law and marked by ceremony, we celebrate the durable wisdom of our Constitution, and recall the deep commitments that unite our country. I am grateful for the honor of this hour, mindful of the consequential times in which we live, and determined to fulfill the oath that I have sworn and you have witnessed. At this second gathering, our duties are defined not by the words I use, but by the history we have seen together. For a half century, America defended our own freedom by standing watch on distant borders. After the shipwreck of communism came years of relative quiet, years of repose, years of sabbatical—and then there came a day of fire. We have seen our vulnerability—and we have seen its deepest source. For as long as whole regions of the world simmer in resentment and tyranny—prone to ideologies that feed hatred and excuse murder—violence will gather, and multiply in destructive power, and cross the most defended borders, and raise a mortal threat. There is only one force of history that can break the reign of hatred and resentment, and expose the pretensions of tyrants, and reward the hopes of the decent and tolerant, and that is the force of human freedom. We are led, by events and common sense, to one conclusion: The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world. America’s vital interests and our deepest beliefs are now one. From the day of our Founding, we have proclaimed that every man and woman on this earth has rights, and dignity, and matchless value, because they bear the image of the Maker of Heaven and earth. Across the generations, we have proclaimed the imperative of self-government, because no one is fit to be a master, and no one deserves to be a slave. Advancing these ideals is the mission that created our Nation. It is the honorable achievement of our fathers. Now it is the urgent requirement of our nation’s security, and the calling of our time. So it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.”

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