Washington Center

Impact of Image: How Media Affects Washington Politics and Policy

Quarter Elective
Seminar 318

In this seminar we will examine the impact of television, print and electronic media on Washington politics and policy, using the November 2012 elections and Washington DC as a living backdrop. We will take a critical look at the power of the televised image, and how it has historically catapulted or crippled political candidates and their causes. We will study the effects of the 24-hour news cycle on Congressional lawmakers, and the way it has fundamentally changed modern lawmaking. And we will examine the current Presidential race with a critical eye, learning about what goes on inside in a newsroom from working producers and reporters. Through examples culled from broadcast television, film, and the Internet, we will watch 50 years of broadcast history, observing the evolution and impact of political ads, the crumbling of campaigns due to viral video, and the powerful role parody and satirical news programs have played in recent elections and key Congressional votes. Along the way we will watch and dissect pivotal media moments in recent political history, from the first televised presidential debate between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon in 1960, to the various gaffes and game-changers of the 2012 presidential race.


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