MMPP 6280:Week 8: The Role of the Media Essay Assignment Paper

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MMPP 6280:Week 8: The Role of the Media Essay Assignment Paper

MMPP 6280: Policy and Politics in American Institutions | Week 8

In the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, the Framers firmly included “freedom of the press” as one of the fundamental rights granted to the people. Nevertheless, the Framers could hardly have envisioned the evolution of the “Press” and the influence that the media now holds over government. Often referred to as the “fourth power,” the media now has the capability to shape policy in many ways. The argument can be made that excessive media influence can be dangerous to democracy and the republican form of government, particularly in today’s social media-driven world.

This week, you examine the influence the media may have on communities, states, and the nation. In addition, you explore the potential implications of that influence on the policy process and democracy.

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Evaluate the influence of media on public policy
  • Synthesize major concepts relative to public policy and politics in American Institutions

Learning Resources

Note: To access this week’s required library resources, please click on the link to the Course Readings List, found in the Course Materials section of your Syllabus.

Required Readings

Shafritz, J. M., Lane, K. S., & Borick, C. P. (Eds.). (2005). Classics of public policy. New York, NY: Pearson Education.

  • Chapter 10, “Public Policy as Public Relations”
    • The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America (1961) (pp. 369–374)

D’Agostino, M. J. (2011). Reviving democracy through new and traditional media. Public Administration Review, 71(2) 306–307.

Mutz, C. D. , & Martin, P. S. (2001). Facilitating communication across lines of political difference: The role of mass media. The American Political Science Review, 95(1) 97–114.


Required Media

Putnam, D. (Producer). (2013). Does the media have a “duty of care”? Retrieved from

Note: The approximate length of this media piece is 11 minutes.

MMPP 6280:Week 8: The Role of the Media Essay Assignment Paper

On the eve of the official launch date of the Obama vs. Romney presidential campaign, regular television programming was interrupted by a “Breaking News” bulletin from CNN. CNN correspondent Anderson Cooper announced that President Obama was about to make an important statement to the American public. Shortly thereafter, the President walked to the presidential podium and announced that Osama bin Laden [the mastermind behind the 9/11 bombings of the Twin Towers in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.] had been killed by Navy Seal Team Six [a Special Forces unit]. My first reaction was of awe, given the timing of the announcement. Then however, my reaction turned to skepticism as CNN began to broadcast images of the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, the terrorists, and the victims of 9/11; in what has come to be known in the neoinstitutional literature as ‘framing’ an issue by the news media. Out of curiosity, I switched to Fox News and was struck by the difference in the coverage and the message they projected.

—G. M. Telleria (personal communication, June 1, 2014)

For this Discussion, reflect on your own experiences with the media. Have you had similar experiences? Or have you experienced something completely different? Review this week’s Learning Resources, and think about how the media can influence the development of public policy.

For this Discussion, consider the following options and choose one to address:

Option 1: Compare network television news coverage (e.g., NBC, CBS, ABC) with 24-hour cable news coverage (e.g., CNN, FOX).

Explain the differences and similarities you observe in how these news outlets cover the White House. How might 24-hour coverage influence the development of public policy?

Option 2: The U.S. government allowed reporters to be “embedded” with military forces during the recent conflict with Iraq. Assess the degree to which this experiment influenced the American public’s view on the use of force and the soundness of presidential decision making regarding policy.

Option 3: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has considered rules in the past making it easier for different news companies to be bought by large conglomerates. Critics charge that this will lessen the independence of reporting, while supporters argue that consumers will ultimately punish companies that censor or tilt their news broadcasts to portray themselves in a favorable light.

Explain your perspective on news consolidation and how this might influence the public and what impact it might have on public policy.

Option 4: If you are an international student and would prefer this option, compare a network television news station in the United States with one in your own nation or country. How does the media in your nation or country frame political issues and influence public policy?

By Day 3

Post your response to one of the four Discussion options. Identify the option number you chose in the subject line of your response.

Be sure to support your postings and responses with specific references to the Learning Resources.

Read a selection of your colleagues’ postings.

By Day 5

Respond to at least two of your colleagues’ postings in one or more of the following ways:

  • Ask a probing question.
  • Share an insight from having read your colleague’s posting.
  • Offer and support an opinion.
  • Validate an idea with your own experience.
  • Make a suggestion.
  • Expand on your colleague’s posting.


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