Mass Media and Public Opinion, POSC 146, Spring 2015
This course introduces students to the role of mass media and public opinion in American politics. The first part of the course examines why public opinion is important, theoretically – namely via the lens of democratic and participatory theory. How is public opinion measured? Is it stable, and how is it used to assess public attitudes about policy preferences and by candidates seeking public office? The second part of the course examines recent research on the role the mass media plays in American politics. While we will review traditional sources of media, we will also focus on the growth of modern technologies such as social media, and how we now exist in a highly fragmented media environment. Throughout, we will investigate how the media influences political campaigns and election politics more generally.