Washington Center

Washington Media: Fake News, Social Media, and the Reshaping of American Politics

Term or Semester: 
Day and Time: 
Wednesdays, 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. PT
Quarter Dates: 
March 24 - June 2, 2021
Core Seminar

What is the difference between “fake news"and journalism? Why does President Trump call news organizations “the enemy of the American people"? Should the media report what people want to know or ought to know? Does objectivity exist?

This seminar examines the extraordinary changes to communication and journalism over the past half century and the consequences for American politics. The 2020 campaign is a perfect backdrop to assess the news media’s mission, goals, and biases. We will look at the media’s incentives to fuel controversy, politicians’ efforts to manipulate (if not lie to) the media, and how the digital revolution – for both better and worse -- has fundamentally restructured the future of political communication. Each week will feature an hour-long presentation combining lectures, guest speakers and videos to be viewed in advance of the two-hour live class. The live class will combine discussion and exercises with an emphasis on current developments, lectures, and readings. Readings will include an assortment of news and scholarly articles.

Remote Syllabus

About the Instructor:  Professor Marc Sandalow is the Associate Academic Director of the University of California Washington Program (UCDC). He is the author of three books, including “Madam Speaker,” a biography of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. He has been a journalist for 30 years, including 21 years at the San Francisco Chronicle and more than a decade as the paper’s Washington Bureau Chief. He is a former columnist and contributing editor for the California Journal, and is a currently a political analyst for Hearst Argyle television stations and KCBS radio in San Francisco. Professor Sandalow has been the UCDC program since 2008.

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