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This 12 page Class Notes was uploaded by Sierra Swigert on Thursday September 15, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to ART244 at Cleveland State University taught by Professor Qian Li in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 5 views. For similar materials see Intro Visual Tech in Design & Digital Media at Cleveland State University.
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Date Created: 09/15/16
Political Communication Communication 347 Fall, 2016 Professor: Dr. Richard M. Perlof Office: MU 278 Office Phone: 687-4632 Office Hours: M, W, & F: 9:00 -10:00 a.m.; M&W: 3:15:4:15 p.m. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Course Purpose: Th is course is designed to introduce you to the whirlwind, sometimes-zany, uniquely American, and important arena of political communication. The course examines the practice of politics in a media- saturated democracy. Focusing on citizens, media, and the political system, the class introduces students to diferent ways of thinking about politics, and ways to intellectually explore contemporary political communication. The course intends to enhance your understanding of several issues, including: (1) how politics is communicated in contemporary American society; (2) the shortcomings and strengths of political media; (3) the way political communication has changed, is changing, and has remained the same; (4) theory and research on politics, press, and public in contemporary elections; and (5) how to critically appreciate contemporary political media. We will use the political communication textbook I wrote. As a give- back to the School of Communication, I will give a donation to the School from any royalties made from book sales from students this term. In addition, to help students, I have placed a copy of the book on reserve at the library. Textbook: The Dynamics of Political Communication: Media and Politics in a Digital Age by R.M. Perlof, New York: Routledge, 2014, (P). Blackboard Readings on the 2016 campaign (in order of their use in the course): 1. Landler & Lichtblau (“FBI Director”; L&L); 2. FactCheck.org (“The ‘King of Whoppers’”; FC); 3.Irwin (“Donald Trump’s Economic Nostalgia; I); 4. Burns and Haberman (“Electoral Map”; B&H); 5. Nagourney (“Going Dirty”; N); and 6. Ornstein and Abramowtiz (“Stop the Polling Insanity”; O&A). Format and Grading There will be three tests. The first and third will have essays, and the second test will be multiple choice and matching only. The third exam may call on some of the material from the second since these parts of the course overlap. You will need blue or green books for the first and third exams. There will also be three short assignments on BlackBoard, asking you to reflect on political communication. There is also an optional extra credit assignment. Assignments will be graded based on cogency, coherence, taking into account political communication concepts, and overall quality. Discussion is a helpful part of the class. It is what makes an in-person class diferent from an online course, and exposes you to interesting perspectives from fellow students that can enrich your thinking. While there may be times when someone’s comment stretches beyond the class or doesn’t seem to bear on the exam, we need to remember that general discussion enlivens and enhances our class. As students in a political communication class, you are expected to follow the news, reading or viewing it, and keeping up with events in the national political world as the 2016 election approaches. This is standard in political communication classes. There is no assignment to turn in to check on your following of contemporary political news, but you will find it much easier to grapple with issues that inevitably come up by keeping in touch with developments in the news and political world. I give three tests to provide everyone with as many opportunities as possible to master the material. Tests are not cumulative, but build on one another. The format of the class is lecture-discussion. Discussion plays a prominent part in the class, with students expected to ofer their views of political communication and knowledge gleaned from the readings. We may role-play or engage in some intellectual exercises to bring home a point. Coming to class and partaking in discussions are important because they allow students to gain from the interpersonal experience of learning from other students, absorbing the instructor’s ideas, and taking in the give-and- take of face-to-face education. In addition, keep in mind that the schedule of topics we will discuss can fluctuate, depending on how discussion and lecture goes. Each class has its own dynamic. I don’t want to be overly-rigid. I love the material and sometimes get a little exuberant. I am centered on the class and my students as I talk, but I get enthusiastic and pleasantly animated sometimes. I do not have strong biases or beliefs when it comes to political communication. Of course, I have my views, but, as the book notes, there are many perspectives on politics – positive, negative; conservative, liberal; scientific, aesthetic. We may have class debates or discussions of certain issues from time to time, because you can’t appreciate something like political communication without wrestling with diferent viewpoints. It’s not all facts and dry numerical findings. I may defend one view, but you will see that at other times I will defend or mention the opposing perspective. On occasion, I may strive to ask individuals to give a point of view, but my interest is never to put a student on the spot or make them feel like I don’t agree with them or they have to say a certain thing. I try to play devil’s advocate or gently nudge or get you to think to help you develop your thoughts as a student and a citizen. If I try to nudge you to look at something diferently, I may be a little energetic, but I don’t want or intend to make anyone feel uncomfortable. I just want students to look at issues through diferent intellectual lenses from time to time. As the philosopher Pascal said, we don’t show our strengths by being at one extreme viewpoint, “but rather by touching both (or many) at once.” Attendance and participation count in the final grade. You need to attend and participate to get the full 5 points. If you don’t show up, except for several classes here and there, the reviews sessions, and the tests, you will get few (if any) of the 5 points. If you come relatively infrequently, you will be docked at least half the points. If you don’t come often and are on the borderline for the final grade, you will get the lower of the two grades. Attending class is part of college. I regard it as an indispensable part of the course, and those who are always or almost always in class, and participate, will do well in this part of the class. Note: Regarding exams, if a very unusual situation crops up that prevents you from taking the test, you are to inform me before the test and I will try to make allowances. If you do not tell me until after the test is over, I cannot guarantee that I will let you take the test or that you can take it without a serious penalty. Important note: Plagiarism is a cardinal academic and ethical sin. Accordingly, evidence of plagiarism can result in flunking an assignment, paper, or course. Do not lift passages from other people’s work. Finally: We need to observe common courtesy. Students should make a special efort to come to class on time and NOT to leave before class ends. Leaving before class is over disrupts the experience for others and is not acceptable, unless, obviously, you have a medical problem, or you let me know beforehand. And please turn of cell phones before coming to class. If you text in class or use your laptop, I will ask you to stop. If you do this on several more occasions, you may be penalized by loss of class points. The reason is that it disrupts my attention and takes away from my ability to fulfill my obligations as a teacher, which I take seriously. I don’t like to monitor people’s cell phone use and realize everyone is attached to their phones and need them. If an emergency comes up or you are checking your phone for something urgent, please tell me in advance or afterwards. I will certainly accept that as legitimate. But if I don’t know you are using a phone for this purpose, I will ask you to turn it of. In fairness to students who are focusing on class material, I may occasionally come by and make sure students are using laptops for class purposes. I hate to do this, but have had students surfing the Internet before, despite my rules, and want to make sure everyone is following the academic program and course material. So, PLEASE do not use cell phones or laptops in class. I really do not like to monitor students and tell them in front of others to turn their phone of. It’s not how I see myself as a teacher, and it causes embarrassment. So, please do not use your phones or laptops in class. Grades are calculated as follows: First Exam: 25% Second Test: 15% Third Exam: 25% Research Paper: 25% Class Attend/Part. 5% BlackBoard Assignments 5% Help With Difficult Material Sometimes students struggle with parts of the material. To help you prepare for exams, I give detailed study guides that ofer questions to study and the types of questions that will appear on the exam. The many PowerPoints should also help you prepare. If you do poorly on an exam, do NOT wait until the end of the course, figuring things will get better. I have taught at Cleveland State for more than 35 years, know something about the mistakes students make on tests, and how to correct them. Arrange a time to talk with me, so I can help you see where you went wrong and how you can do better. CLASS SCHEDULE Date Topic Reading I. Foundations Mon Aug 29 Introductory issues and questions Wed Aug 31 2016 election terms and issues L&L; FC Fri Sept 2 Core characteristics of political P: 1, pp. 3-10 communication P: 2, pp. 28-34 Mon Sept 5 LABOR DAY: NO CLASS Wed Sept 7 Unpacking political communication P: 2, 34-45 Fri Sept 9 Normative theories P: 1, pp. 11-27 Turn in three voter names (Clinton, Trump, third party or undecided), their emails, & two questions for each voter Mon Sept 12 The Trump phenomenon I (“Trump’s economic nostalgia”) Wed Sept 14 Nominations: Early phases P: 13, pp. 283- 298 Fri Sept 16 Nomination, primaries; News P: pp. 298- 310 Mon Sept 19 Conventions and communication P: pp. 310-315 Wed Sept 21 Review Fri Sept 23 FIRST EXAM Mon Sept 26 Political news history, bias P: 9, 180-181; pp. 185-195 Wed Sept 28 News, gender and bias P: pp. 196- 205 P; 11, pp. 235- 248 Fri Sept 30 Spin; political marketing P: 11, pp. 251- 255 Mon Oct 3 Marketing and campaign strategy P: 15, pp. 338- 347; B&H Wed Oct 5 Campaign strategy; ads TURN IN WRITE-UP OF ONE INTERVIEW Fri Oct 7 NO CLASS: BLACKBOARD ASSIGMENT #1 due, 12:30 Mon Oct 10 Negative ads, agenda-setting, framing N; P: pp. 347- 354 Wed Oct 12 NO CLASS: JEWISH HOLIDAY (BLACKBOARD ASSIGNMENT # 2 DUE, 12:30 p.m. Fri Oct 14 Ads, truth, ethics P: pp. 354- 363 Mon Oct 17 Ads; Debates P: 16, pp. 364- 384 Wed Oct 19 Debates P: pp. 384- 393 Fri Oct 21 Persuasion; In-class Paper Discussion Session Complete interviews by today or earlier Mon Oct 24 Persuasion and politics P: 14, pp. 316- 322 Wed Oct 26 Review Fri Oct 28 SECOND TEST Mon Oct 31 Persuasion P: 322-333 Wed Nov 2 Persuasion; selectivity Finish P: 14 Fri Nov 4 Election news impact PAPERS DUE Mon Nov 7 Public opinion and voting Wed Nov 9 Post-mortem; Candidates P: 12, pp. 257- 264 Fri Nov 11 VETERANS DAY HOLIDAY Mon Nov 14 Consultants, polls P: pp. 265- 271; O&A Wed Nov 16 Polls, public opinion, Campaign finance P: pp. 273-280 Fri Nov 18 NO CLASS: Academic Convention BlackBoard Assignment #3 due (12:30 p.m.) Mon Nov 21 Campaign finance P: pp. 273-280 Wed Nov 23 Campaign complexities; civics issues Nov. 24-25 THANKSGIVING HOLDAY Mon Nov 28 Political knowledge P: 4, pp. 73-82 Wed Nov 30 Political knowledge; P: pp. 82-94; Political socialization P: 5, pp. 95- 106 Fri Dec 2 Political socialization P: 5, 106-112 Mon Dec 5 Pol. comm. efects P: 6, pp. 119- 131 Wed Dec 7 News, partisanship and governing today Fri Dec 9 Review Mon Dec 12, 10:15-12:15 THIRD EXAM RESEARCH PAPER This paper is a compilation and discussion of voters’ attitudes in the white-hot 2016 presidential campaign. You will interview three voters: one who supports Trump, the other who supports Clinton, and the third, who is undecided, supports a third party candidate, or who plans not to vote. (If you can’t find three voters who support Clinton, Trump, or are undecided or supporting a third party candidate, talk with me and I will help you find a solution.) You will find talking in depth to voters about their political attitudes to be interesting and full of lively comments. Develop a series of specific questions, based on your reviewing class articles on BlackBoard, candidates’ web sites, the news and your own knowledge. Questions should focus on how the voters evaluate both candidates, their stands on the issues (foreign, domestic, or campaign topics of interest to you), what your voters see as troubling aspects of their candidacies, their strengths, and their overall evaluations of the candidates’ stands and image. One question should pose a problem or shortcoming in the candidate, asking the voter to indicate how she or he deals with this issue. You also should try to ask the voter if he or she is voting more for a candidate or against another. The bulk of the interview should probe why the voter feels as he or she does. The interview of the undecided or Independent voter should explore the voters’ ambivalence, her beliefs and feelings about the Democratic and Republican candidates, and the reasons for their lack of support for Trump or Clinton, or why they are gravitating to a third party candidate, and the like. You can begin your interviews by asking your Clinton voter why she or he is voting for Clinton and it stems from more from support of Clinton or opposition to Trump. Similarly, you should begin by asking your Trump voter why he or she is voting for Trump, and if it is more a vote for Trump or against Clinton, and why. Then ask each voter their view about one PROBLEMATIC or TROUBLING aspect of their candidate: Clinton’s email server, or perceived lack of trust, Trump’s arguably bigoted statements about Muslims or lack of experience. You also should ask if they are voting for their preferred candidate, or against the other candidate – and what leads them to choose to vote for or against. When you write your paper, remember: NO first person and no Q&A format. This is to be a cogent, well-thought-out academic paper. In your paper, you begin with an interesting introduction and a purpose of the paper (1/2 page). You then describe in about a page what each voter said about the candidates (pro-Trump, pro-Clinton, undecided, about THREE-FOURTHS a page for each individual), and in the final page, compare and contrast how the three voters saw the candidates, giving your own assessments of the ways voters are thinking about the candidates, their biases, how they are thinking (based on issues, images, biases, or concern with certain issues, and what it suggests about the election in a broader sense. Use headings to organize the paper: Introduction, Pro-Clinton Voter, Pro-Trump Voter (or vice versa), and Undecided (or Independent), and Conclusions. The conclusions section summarizes the voters’ cognitive and emotional assessment of the candidates, any contradictions in what they say, beliefs that don’t comport to facts, any comparisons and contrasts among voters, and any conclusions about electoral democracy in a media-centered society (4 pages). Papers will be graded based on cogency, organization, how clearly they convey voters’ evaluations, and overall summary and quality of the conclusions. Sept 9: Turn in three voter names (pro-Clinton, pro-Trump, or undecided/third party) and two questions you will ask each voter (and not just “Why do you support Clinton or Trump,” but more specific questions) Note: To be fair to all of you who spend time interviewing three voters and might be annoyed with someone who – how shall I say it? – created individuals for the assignment, I will ask you to give me the name (or initials) of these individuals, and an email so I can spotcheck to make sure students complied with the assignment. October 5: Turn in write-up of one interview (happy to give comments, if requested). October 21: Complete interview by today or earlier November 4: Papers due (10:15 a.m.) BlackBoard Assignments: Assignment 1: Watch this clip from, or story about, the presidential debate, and ofer a one or two sentence comment, evaluating one or the other candidate’s, or discussing the contributions – good or bad – of the debate. Due: October 7. (1 point) Assignment 2: Watch these political ads and comment on their efectiveness, ethics, persuasive aspects, or aspects you find problematic. Make sure you go beyond your own pet peeves and think broadly about the ads in terms of the larger campaign, their persuasive impact, positive aspects, or shortcomings, from the standpoint of democratic politics. Are they efective? Which was more efective and why? How might you defend or criticize them, from a larger perspective? Discuss some (not all) of these issues in a paragraph post. Due: October 12. (2 points) Assignment 3: “It’s just politics,” people say, lamenting the sorry state of politics: its negativity, role of money, and their belief that nothing of substance ever gets done. But political scientist Samuel Popkin finds this view problematic. “That’s the saddest phrase in America,” he says, referring to the expression “it’s just politics.” It suggests, he says, that citizens have no stake in their government and it understates all the good changes and policies that can be achieved. Politics, after all, is what produced changes in civil rights, led to the activism of Bernie Sanders’ voters, and brought back many disafected Republicans who liked the “America First” policies of Donald Trump. With this in mind, discuss the pros and cons of politics in a paragraph, responding to others if you would like. Due: Nov. 18. (2 points) BlackBoard comments will be graded on cogency, whether they are well written, and address the issues posed. Feel free to comment on others’ or the thread that emerges. You need to post them on time to get full credit. Some Questions to Guide Initial Discussion 1. How would you defend Hillary Clinton to her critics and Donald Trump to his critics? 2. What has bugged you about this campaign? Also, what aspects of the campaign do you think have helped the country cope more efectively with its problems – that is, what aspects do you think have been helpful and positive? 3. Has there been too much news coverage of Trump, or has the news ofered a reasonable way to cover his campaign? 4. How has the campaign – including Bernie Sanders’ campaign and the Republican primary campaign – served democracy? How has it hindered democratic and positive political causes? 5. What are the aspects of social media that have advanced the campaign and democracy, and which parts have hindered the campaign and democracy? 6. What role do media play in democracy? What role should they play? 7. If you were doing public relations for Clinton, Trump, and third party candidates, what strategies would you recommend? 8. What role has gender played in the campaign?
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