first question Political scientists present three characterizations of the American people: 1) most Americans are apolitical and self-interested; 2) most Americans are politically aware, at least enough to get by and promote their own best interests–what political scientists call the rational electorate; and 3) a significant number of Americans are ideal citizens, who are extremely knowledgeable about both current events and the workings of our political system.
How would a political scientist characterize you? Which category would you fall into? Explain your reasoning.
What agents of political socialization have shaped your political attitude such that you fall into this category? Offer specific examples of how these agents socialized you politically.
If the majority of Americans fall into the first two categories, then what might some implications be for how public opinion influences policy decisons by our elected officials? Offer examples to support your argument.
second question The American mass media’s historical strengths are private ownership and minimal government regulation. In this context, after viewing Robert McChesney’s Digital Disconnect: Fake News, Privacy and Democracy and John Oliver’s segment on corporate consolidation in local news media, address the following:
Does private ownership of the mass media enhance or diminish democracy? Explain your reasoning. (HINT: You may want to touch upon the implications for political socialization.) Provide examples to support your argument.
Do you favor expanding the Federal Communications Commission’s jurisdiction to include digital media–e.g., websites, social media platforms, video games, etc.? Explain your reasoning.