Saturday, January 21, 2012

Democracy in America?!

"As Lippmann and many others noted, high hopes about the political role of the free press go back to the founding era of the United States and to the Enlightenment."

Really? Well, I suppose we could begin by problematizing phrases like "free press" and "high hopes" to better understand how this relates to our current networked media. There seems to be an unspoken, at other times clearly indicated, classification for what we take to be "serious" news versus mere farce or caustic satire. Depending on the demographic, one will take the satire as serious, and the other the serious as straight faced farce, i.e. a joke.

In this current election, it has been noted that Newt Gingrich will not do well with women voters. Given the nature of the 'scandal' (I use the term loosely here), and since we have so many women in our class, I'm curious.

I'm relating this post to the overarching sentiment that I began this post with. It is a popular and fashionable idea in the history of communication and media, i.e. the faith and hope that we humanity have placed upon the potential of our communication to bring about democracy and dialogue.

So... Does this sort of media have anything to contribute to democracy? If so, how and what? If not, why?

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Indecision 2012 - The Freaker of the Spouse - Newt Gingrich's Negotiation Skills
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook

1 comment:

  1. If your question refers to the Daily Show clip you attached, then yes, this sort of media does have a legitimate place in society. There exists a place for satire and comedy in discourse, I believe, because it exposes societal biases that may affect democratic processes, i.e. voting, which is especially salient this year.

    I feel like the book touches on this sentiment in its introduction:

    "Could [mass media] be a force to eliminate prejudice and increase cross-cultural understanding, or would it maintain stereotypes, divisions, and dominances? Did it create new and liberating or pathological and distorted forms of social life?"

    This passage is particularly interesting to me because the Daily Show and other social commentary, in highlighting distorted forms of social (and, in this case, political) life, seeks to break those dominances and prejudices and increase cross-cultural understanding.