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Media & Democracy Week 2. How are the Isms related to Democracy? They provide the ideological basis for the organization of societal power, serving to.

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Presentation on theme: "Media & Democracy Week 2. How are the Isms related to Democracy? They provide the ideological basis for the organization of societal power, serving to."— Presentation transcript:

1 Media & Democracy Week 2

2 How are the Isms related to Democracy? They provide the ideological basis for the organization of societal power, serving to structure the formation of that power through principles and policies which are (in varying degrees) binding legally and psychologically

3 How are the Ism’s related to a media system? They serve to structure how the media operates and provides information about the system of power in society to its citizenry

4 What is the Media’s relationship to Democracy? Serves as a conduit to inform the public regarding the play of power in society, as well as a means of a public to articulate its own power

5 What is the individual’s responsibility to Citizenship/Democracy?

6 Thomas Paine: Age of Reason  Controversial Patriot and Tactless Progressive  Supported estate taxes (in 1791), progressive taxation, welfare, government work programs (paid for by estate taxes), public education, international organizations (useful for preventing future wars), animal rights, feminism, and freedom from religious tyranny Common Sense: sold 500,000 and twenty-five editions in the first year alone; Paine later paid for the publishing of six thousand copies out of his own pocket and eventually allowed reproduction of the pamphlet by anyone who would cover the costs. Paine donated his royalties from Common Sense to George Washington's Continental Army, saying:  “As my wish was to serve an oppressed people, and assist in a just and good cause, I conceived that the honor of it would be promoted by my declining to make even the usual profits of an author”  Glen Beck 18-50 million/year Plato: The Allegory of the Cave  The Matrix, Cultural Boxes and You

7 What is Critical Thinking? What does it mean To be a Critically Engaged Citizen

8 Mr. Smith Goes to Washington: 1939 Nominated for 11 academy awards A quintessential whistleblower film Attacked by Washington Press/politicians as anti-American + pro-communism  A portrait of grassroots activism and mobilization  Emblematic of American belief that one person can make a difference Ending?

9 Mr. Smith Goes to Washington: 1939 Themes Idealism/Belief in American principles vs. Democracy in “Action”  Naïve/Nostalgic vision of America vs. “the whole rotten show” Power  Business – interests direct government (capitalism) Political manipulation (government/media/people)  Press – aligned with business interests vs. public watchdog Media manipulation (framing/censorship)  People and their role Accountability – government/media/people Education/Entertainment = muckraking Contemporary Implications  Inspire reflection on our current situation

10 What is the contemporary state of  Political Participation?  Individual/Group/Community power?  The Principles and Practices of “Democracy”  How we collectively understand Democracy as our  Rights and Benefits?  Responsibilities and Obligations?

11 Tuned Out: Why Americans under 40 don’t follow the News? Mindich Themes Increased Complacency  Declining Civic Involvement and Political Awareness Trust Social Capital Imagined Communities “The Public Sphere” Community/Media/Democracy under Commercial Imperatives Trends in Media:  Rise of Entertainment Media and their Logics  Internet  Local Engagement

12 Youth voters a force in '08 race Susan Milligan An explosion in political activity among youth The Role of New Technologies  Internet, Cell phones, email cheap and efficient tool to organize rallies, recruit volunteers, and exchange information about issues and candidates. savvier organizing techniques = changed dynamic for getting people involved Passions about big issues (war, poverty, national security, global warming, Darfur, etc.) rather than conservative social issues (abortion, gay marriage, etc.)  1990s = "People checked out. And we got selfish. I realize now that there's too much at stake around the world to check out.“  Trending democratic, Less partisan, Less self-interest  more involved in volunteer work/community service although the impetus for the activity was sometimes rooted in improving college applications. What is the state of Democracy and Political Engagement today? (1 year later)

13 Democracy A form of government in which power is held by “the people" under a free electoral system. Derived from the Greeks in the 4th century BC Political theory:  Democracy describes a small number of related forms of government a political philosophy.  no universally accepted definition of 'democracy' Two principles:  All members of the society (citizens) have equal access to power  All members (citizens) enjoy universally recognized freedoms and liberties. But what do these mean?

14 Democracy Several varieties of democracy  “Power to the People” If a democracy is not carefully legislated to avoid an uneven distribution of political power, then a branch of the system of rule is able to accumulate power in a way that is harmful to democracy itself. The "majority rule" is often described as a characteristic feature of democracy, but without responsible government it is possible for the rights of a minority to be abused by the "tyranny of the majority". Necessary: competitive elections that are fair, both substantively and procedurally freedom of political expression, freedom of speech and freedom of the press → citizens that are informed, able and willing to act/vote in their personal interests. What are these personal interests?

15 What Democracy Means To Me Johnny Carson Democracy is people of all races, colors, and creeds united by a single dream: to get rich and move to the suburbs away from people of all races, colors, and creeds. Democracy is buying a big house you can't afford with money you don't have to impress people you wish were dead. And, unlike communism, democracy does not mean having just one ineffective political party; it means having two ineffective political parties. Democracy is welcoming people from other lands, and giving them something to hold onto — usually a mop or a leaf blower. Democracy means our elected officials bow to the will of the people, but more often they bow to the big butts of campaign contributors. Democracy means fighting every day for what you deserve, and fighting even harder to keep other weaker people from getting what they deserve Democracy is the eagle on the back of a dollar bill, with 13 arrows in one claw, 13 leaves on a branch, 13 tail feathers, and 13 stars over its head. This signifies that when the white man came to this country, it was bad luck for the Indians, bad luck for the trees, bad luck for the wildlife, and lights out for the American eagle.

16 The US and its Constitution US = Liberal Democracy (or Constitutional Democracy)  Representative, rather than Direct features constitutional protections of individual rights from government power; Rousseau and Hobbes The Constitution of the United States of America = the supreme law of the United States.  The foundation and source of the legal authority underlying the existence of the USA; its Federal Government and all the State & Local governments and Territorial Administrative bodies contained therein.  Provides the framework for the organization of the United States Government.  The document defines (but does not identify the overall architecture) of the three main branches of the government:  Provides for the general organization of these branches, and carefully outlines which powers each branch may have, and exercise.  It also reserves numerous rights and powers for exercise by the individual states, and for exercise by the people of the United States; thereby establishing the United States' federal system of government.  It is a living document. How do you know your rights if you have never read it?

17 The US and its Constitution Adopted on September 17, 1787, by the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and later ratified by conventions in each U.S. state in the name of "The People"; Amended twenty-seven times; first ten amendments = Bill of Rights  The Constitution has a central place in United States law and political culture  Its Meaning In your life? Information = An Agenda (Economics/Politics + Framing (Representation) Sanford Levinson (2006)  Our Undemocratic Constitution: Where the Constitution Goes Wrong (And How We the People Can Correct It) Democracy is an “essentially contested concept”  vitally important to engage in a national conversation about the Constitution’s adequacy rather than automatically assume its fitness for our own times  Constitution is both insufficiently democratic, in a country that professes to believe in democracy, and significantly dysfunctional, in terms of the quality of government that we receive = we should no longer express our blind devotion to it.  It is a human creation open to criticism and even to rejection.

18 Discovering What Democracy Means Bill Moyers We are all “institutionalized” in one form or another, locked away in our separate realities, our parochial loyalties, our fixed ways of seeing ourselves and others. For democracy to prosper it requires us to escape those bonds and join what John Dewey called “a life of free and enriching communion”—to become “We, the People.” James W. Carey: “the very concept of “public” could once be defined as “a group of strangers who gather to discuss the news.” (= Imagined Communities Affirmed). The commons— places where people gathered to discuss what they were reading. These places of public communication “provided the underlying social fabric of the town.” The media’s role was humble but serious, and that role was to take the public seriously. What is the media’s role today in building public discussion?

19 Discovering What Democracy Means Bill Moyers Our public conversation is mediated by politicians who have mastered “sound bites” sculpted from polling data, by “pundits” whose credibility increases with the frequency of exposure despite being consistently wrong, and “experts” whose authority depends not on reason, evidence or logic but on ideology and affiliation. The public, J.R. Priestly observed, “has been transformed into a vast crowd, a permanent audience, waiting to be amused.”  The role and influence of commercial logics  “messages beamed across the public airwaves courtesy of huge media conglomerates whose intent is not the informing of citizens but the maximizing of profit through the delivery to advertisers of mass audiences addicted to consumerism ”

20 Discovering What Democracy Means Bill Moyers Trust/Belief in our leadership? Socrates: went about casting doubt on the knowledge of wise men and trusted officials by exposing their received opinions and unexamined assumptions…exposing and confronting the ignorance of the leaders “The wisest of men … is the one who is most conscious of his own ignorance, most aware of the limits of knowledge which are introduced by our limited methods of obtaining knowledge. How “educated” is this society?

21 Why Civic Knowledge matters? Political tolerance Active participation Consistency The Ability to Identify Interests and Rights The Ability to Act on Interests and Rights Democracy’s first principle is that all members of the society have equal access to power and the second that all members enjoy universally recognized freedoms and liberties News/Information is empowering  Without it, you are being manipulated  Without thinking about it and its place in your life …  Your Citizenship, to the powers that be, looks like this:

22 The Role of the Media Media = your window to understanding/framing this debate Curran: What Democracy Requires of Media  Media need to be understood in relation to the wider political environment and power relations Media Representation Media Forum Division of Labor Media Watchdog Informational Role Rival Models of Democracy  Democracies are devolved systems of power that entail responsibilities as well as rights and obligations  You have an obligation to be properly informed and concerned about major government decisions that are done in your name Self-government Politics and Entertainment  Our Commercial Media System: media entertainment + politics = fact of life  Public Service = conflict : requirements of the market/requirements of democracy Economic priorities/pressures undermine media’s role in democracy

23 Media Democracy Media democracy = promotes a mass media system that informs and empowers all members of society, and enhances democratic values. The mainstream media should be accountable to the publics they serve.  In response to the increased corporate domination of mass media and the perceived shrinking of the marketplace of ideas. Key Themes:  the health of the democratic political system depends on the efficient, accurate, and complete transmission of social, political, and cultural information in society;  the media are the conduits of this information and should act in the public interest;  the mass media have increasingly been unable and uninterested in fulfilling this role due to increased concentration of ownership and commercial pressures;  this undermines democracy as citizens are unable to participate knowledgably in public policy debates. Key principles:  Media ownership concentration  Public broadcasting  Alternative and citizen media  New Technologies Raises serious questions regarding how we get ‘educated’ at the intersection of Market/State/Civic Impulses and how we understand Power in a Society

24 Criteria for Democracy Democracy  assumes that all are equally well qualified to participate in decisions provided they have adequate opportunities to learn about the matters confronting the electorate  uninformed electorate is beholden to those who control interests and agenda of “democracy” Interest = Informed; Information = Power No State has ever fully measured up to the criteria for Democracy  Democracy IS ALWAYS A/IN PROCESS Reflection on it = a means to measure principles, achievements and possibilities of Democracy  Guide for (re)shaping democracy’s concrete arrangements, constitutions, practices and political institutions  Political Reality = tougher (trade-offs and compromises); messy

25 What Does It Mean to say A Country is Governed Democratically? Political institutions of democracy on a large scale must be present  political arrangements→ practices→ institutions to insure democratic criteria and broader popular inclusion in government and political life Large Scale Democracy Requires: elected officials (representation)  effective participation & control of the agenda free, fair elections  voting equality & control of the agenda freedom of expression  effective participation & enlightened understanding & control of agenda alternative sources of information  effective participation & enlightened understanding & control of agenda associational autonomy  effective participation & enlightened understanding &control of agenda inclusive citizenship  full inclusion

26 Freedom of Expression = right to speak and hear what others have to say → enlightened understanding Civic competence = all citizens 1) expressing their own views 2) learning from one another 3) engaging in discussion and deliberation 4) reading, hearing, and questioning experts, political candidates and persons whose judgments one trusts 5) Realizing what freedom of expression entails and what is at stake = influence on government agenda Disinterested Citizens are perfect for Authoritarian Rule and a Disaster for Democracy

27 Our Challenge: To Nurture  An INTEREST to SEEK OUT/Check Information  Effective Participation  Conceptions of Group/Community power  The Ability to Explore/Confront the principles and practices of “Democracy”  An understanding that Democracy is about Communal Responsibilities and Obligations as well as Individual Rights and Benefits

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