­­Decoding News Media: America, Crises & COVID-19

Schools of Public Engagement: International Affairs

Liberal Arts

Undergraduate Course

Graduate Course

Degree Students

Decoding News Media

Fall 2020

Taught By: Anthony Karon

Section: A

CRN: 9385

Credits: 3

COVID-19’s impact on US and global news media has been analogous to its impact on the societies around those media outlets: It hasn’t changed everything, as much as it has dramatically accelerated and amplified longstanding negative trends. The crisis has spurred a dramatic spike in the consumption of news at the same time as it has delivered a fatal blow to many news outlets, literally narrowing the spectrum of available sources of news and information. This is no paradox: Just as the crisis has revealed the fatal flaws of a profit-driven healthcare system, so has it revealed the fatal flaws of societies’ reliance for information on a profit-driven news media system. The U.S. news media culture of deference to power has combined with cable-news’ DNA as, effectively, an entertainment medium, to reveal an addiction to the spectacle of Presidential “briefings” on the COVID-19 health crisis that are riddled with misinformation and dangerous grandstanding — an addiction of which more of the practitioners now seem to be aware, yet are unable to break. It’s not a problem unique the Trump era; on the contrary, the Trump era is arguably a symptom of the proverbial “preexisting condition” in the U.S. media. And the obsessive focus on Trump’s every utterance and tweet during the crisis, often at the expense (in terms of prominence) of covering his Administration’s actions (and inactions) is a failure that reveals a deeper problem with the norms of the mainstream media itself — from the addiction to spectacle to the narrow provincialism that takes a US-centric view of what is an epic global crisis, or imposes the distorting lens of Cold War “national security” thinking on covering its international dimension.

This course is part of the Conflict & Security concentration and Media & Culture concentration in the Julien J. Studley Graduate Programs in International Affairs.

College: Schools of Public Engagement (NS)

Department: International Affairs (NINT)

Campus: New York City (GV)

Course Format: Seminar (R)

Max Enrollment: 15

Add/Drop Deadline: September 14, 2020 (Monday)

Online Withdrawal Deadline: November 22, 2020 (Sunday)

Seats Available: Yes

Status: Open*

*Status information is updated every five minutes. The status of this course may have changed since the last update. Open seats may have restrictions that will prevent some students from registering. Updated: 11:01am 5/29/2020 EDT

Meeting Info:

Days: Wednesday

Times: 8:00pm - 9:50pm

Building: TBD

Room: TBD

Date Range: 9/2/2020 - 12/16/2020