Web Exercises

Web exercises direct both instructors and students to useful and current web sites, along with creative activities to extend and reinforce learning or allow for further research on important chapter topics.

  • Political Ads and the use of Mass Media in elections
    Visit The Living Room Candidate: http://www.livingroomcandidate.org/commercials/2012
    Watch several recent political ads. Go back in time and explore ads from past decades as well. How do you think different issues, characters, music, etc. are used in political ads and to what effect? How has the rise of mass media altered the way in which political candidates reach voters? How does the mode of dissemination matter? When you watch the ads, how is the candidate’s image carefully constructed? Be as specific as possible in terms of the imagery used and the words chosen. Which ads do you think would be the most persuasive to viewers and why? 

  • Read “Social Media: The New Battleground for Politics”
    What are some of the tactics mentioned as being developed by political parties in terms of social media? Which ones sound most interesting and effective to you?
    How do political parties’ efforts to use social media reflect their initial efforts to use mass media decades ago? How is it different?
    How do you think the explosion of social media affects politicians and citizens’ ability to reach and influence one another? 

  • FactCheck
    Visit FactCheck.org (http://factcheck.org/), a site devoted to fact-checking what is said by major U.S. political players in the form of TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews and news releases. What are some of the recent facts that have been checked and what did they find?
    What is the purpose of this website? Why do you think the founders thought it was a necessary project in terms of politics and the media?
    How do the constraints and enablements of mass media shape political discourse today?
    Using theories from Chapter 7, how influential is political discourse and under what conditions? How important do you think a website like FactCheck is?

  • Celebrities and Political Parties
    Read this article on celebrity political endorsement and support, and go through the slideshow: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/30/celebrity-donations-hollywood-politics_n_1841913.html
    How important are celebrities to the success of politicians today? Is it just about monetary support, or is it something more? How do politicians benefit from these relationships with Hollywood celebrities?Are any of the celebrities profiled ones you like and respect? How do their political activities influence you and your political views, if at all?
    How does this correspond to Ch. 7’s discussion of politics as a spectator sport? How is media a crucial actor in the construction of celebrity status for politicians?