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Media and the Public Sphere

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York University
Communication Studies
COMN 1000
Rob Heynen

Nov 26 I. Introduction  Media, democracy and the public sphere o Media plays a role in democratic society  This is where we get information, share information  Debate happens through media  Media central to democracy because ideas tossed around  The public can express opinions to people in power through media, and vice versa  News and journalism o Inverted pyramid technique of writing news stories o Two stories (pp. 341-2): a review of media history  Form of media reflects the nature of the message  Early newspapers were elitist, opinionated and different from today’s o Media as the ‘fourth estate’  The place where the public sphere gets elaborated  Media is a venue for political dissemination/debates II. Models of media and democracy  From newspapers to TV: the impact of new technologies o Newspapers and democracy go hand-in-hand o TV as anti-democratic?  TV is so fleeting, so fast-moving that it doesn’t give you a chance to absorb and understand  It makes it impossible to question and debate issues  Anti-democratic mechanism  Does the internet allow for more debates?  Twitter, Facebook, blogs o The question of technological determinism  Is it technology that is leading to a shift in democracy or is it something else (like education or healthcare or whatever)?  Media, citizens and democracy: 4 approaches (t reading) o As a citizen, you want to know things that as a consumer, may not be important o 4 approaches shows differences in citizen role, state role, dominant ideologies, etc. o ‘Democracy without citizens’  While we may have a formal democratic system, it actually takes place without citizens  Why? People as a whole don’t know much about politics; citizens don’t have political knowledge  Walter Lippmann and ‘elitist’ theory  Says this is fine, it’s not a bad thing  The people that run society are the ones that know what’s going on politically; that’s how it should be o A lot of people just don’t care about politics and they need not be involved in discussions  A lament for democracy without citizens  Said maybe it is that way but it shouldn’t be o ‘Citizens without democracy’  Says that citizens do know, and they have political opinions, regardless of having all the political knowledge  Noam Chomsky: manufacturing consent  Media’s job is to keep us from knowing things; we are not supposed to know the “truth” because that’s not what the elitists (who run society) want  News and the production of dominant ideologies  Media is there to keep us from seeing the way things really are o ‘Election campaigns and symbolic politics’  Where politics happens  Symbolic politics = creating symbols of/for politicians and selling those symbols to citizens  All media venues are mobilized  In an election campaign, citizens treated as consumers; political parties act as businesses and try to please their consumers o ‘Adversarial journalism’: the liberal view  Classic view  Politics is about debating issues and media lets that happen  That is media’s duty  Regulating media o Market model of the media o Government regulations on media o The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)  Media ownership and co
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