Political Media, Disinformation & Activism in the Age of COVID

Schools of Public Engagement: Media Studies

Liberal Arts

Undergraduate Course

Graduate Course

Degree Students

Political Media & Activism

Fall 2020

Taught By: Peter Asaro

Section: A

CRN: 9400

Credits: 3

We face simultaneous global health and economic crises of epic proportions, amid growing signs of the failure of government accountability and democratic processes. At the same time, we are preparing for the most divisive United States Presidential election in history. Because of social distancing and quarantines, this will also be an election that will be discussed and debated almost entirely on-line. The role of the mass media and social media platforms, and their power to shape public opinion, will be greater than ever before. Meanwhile, the US response to the COVID pandemic has been politicized at every turn, from the role of the World Health Organization and China, to immigration policies. Misinformation about the virus, from scams to unproven cures, and an array of conspiracy theories about its origins have been shared widely on social and mass media. Corporations and the government are seizing new powers of digital surveillance and social control in the name of public safety. How the political messaging around the pandemic plays out, and plays into the upcoming election will be the focus of this seminar, along with the ways in which activists and social movements are creatively deploying media technologies to organize, create solidarity and preserve democracy under enforced social isolation. While the course will focus on US politics, international students are encouraged to bring a global perspective to these issues, and we will compare the US situation to those in other countries. We will examine the traditional roles of political rhetoric in presidential politics, as well as the unique strategies employed by President Trump. We will examine how audiences are created and shaped by internet and broadcast media platforms, how political campaigns, public health agencies, and activists are using social media platforms, and how audiences are responding to these messages. As we follow the political conventions, speeches, debates, presidential tweets and press briefings, public health warnings, protests and demonstrations, we will consider the ways in which the current crises facing the nation and the world are framed politically, and in turn used as political tools. Students will be required to keep political media journals with regular entries and commentary, complete readings as assigned, participate in online class discussions via Zoom, and write three 5-7 page papers, or create short multi-media presentations, during the course of the semester.

Media Studies courses are open to all graduate students. Undergraduate Juniors and Seniors with permission from the instructor and BA/MA Media studies students should email mediastudiesadvising@newschool.edu for access.

College: Schools of Public Engagement (NS)

Department: Media Studies (NMDS)

Campus: Online (DL)

Sync Type: N/A

Course Format: Seminar (R)

Max Enrollment: 21

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

Online Withdrawal Deadline: November 22, 2020 (Sunday)

Seats Available: Yes

Status: Closed*

* 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: 10:20am 12/5/2020 EST

Meeting Info:

Days: Monday

Times: 6:00pm - 7:50pm

Building: Online Course

Date Range: 8/31/2020 - 12/14/2020