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Předmět, akademický rok 2022/2023
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American Media in the 21st Century: Polarized Politics and Fractured Ethics - JTM618
Anglický název: American Media in the 21st Century: Polarized Politics and Fractured Ethics
Zajišťuje: Katedra severoamerických studií (23-KAS)
Fakulta: Fakulta sociálních věd
Platnost: od 2021
Semestr: letní
E-Kredity: 6
Způsob provedení zkoušky: letní s.:
Rozsah, examinace: letní s.:1/1, Zk [HT]
Počet míst: 16 / neurčen (16)
Minimální obsazenost: neomezen
4EU+: ne
Virtuální mobilita / počet míst pro virtuální mobilitu: ne
Stav předmětu: vyučován
Jazyk výuky: angličtina
Způsob výuky: prezenční
Způsob výuky: prezenční
Poznámka: předmět je možno zapsat mimo plán
povolen pro zápis po webu
Garant: Frank Kuznik
Vyučující: Frank Kuznik
Třída: Courses for incoming students
Anotace - angličtina
Poslední úprava: Frank Kuznik (07.02.2024)
Once a model for the entire world, American journalism has shattered. Print media is shrinking and no longer trusted, television and radio are dominated by partisan voices, and the internet is a wellspring of disinformation. What happened? This course will examine how the digital revolution and the rise of right-wing extremism altered the media landscape in the United States, overturning established practices, subverting ethical standards and fracturing not just the media but the entire country along hardened political lines.

The 2024 presidential election offers an ideal opportunity to study this system at work. The timing of the course coincides with the primary election season, which will be covered intensely by media across the entire political spectrum. Students will be assigned to monitor media outlets reflecting a variety of viewpoints and gather material, examples and observations that we can compare and analyze in class. As the dynamics of the presidential campaign develop, issues involving political bias, free speech, fake news and artificial intelligence will emerge.

The course will also look at these issues in a historical context, using key figures such as Joseph Pulitzer, Rupert Murdoch, Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk to show how American media was established and has evolved. In keeping with the subject matter, the materials and approach will be multimedia: print articles, book excerpts, films, radio and television broadcasts and digital platforms, in particular social media. Following current events through a variety of sources and setting them in a historical framework will offer a portrait of American media that is timely, comprehensive and, like the best journalism, open-minded in its pursuit of truth and understanding.
Cíl předmětu - angličtina
Poslední úprava: Frank Kuznik (07.02.2024)

The principal aim of the course is to give students an overview of the media landscape in the United States and an understanding of how and why it fractured, both structurally and ethically. Students will become familiar with the full spectrum of American media, learn how to analyze and evaluate media outlets, identify their biases and assess their political impact. Recognizing fake news and the dangers posed by artificial intelligence are a key part of this process. At the conclusion of the course, students should have a working knowledge of traditional journalism ethics and practices, how those have been warped by political ideology, an ability to recognize disinformation and its possible sources, and a deeper understanding of how digital media has transformed not only the US but the entire world, as well as the impact it has had on our lives.

Podmínky zakončení předmětu - angličtina
Poslední úprava: Frank Kuznik (07.02.2024)

Grading will be based on the following:

Class Participation (20%)

Students are expected to be active participants in class, bringing observations and examples from their monitoring and contributing ideas and questions to the discussions.

Midterm (30%)

Students will be required to write a 1,200-word paper at midterm, topics TBD

Final Paper (50%)

Students will be required to write a 2,000-word research paper on a topic of their choice (subject to approval by the instructor) that reflects material covered during the semester and offers original observations and analyses.

Deadlines are critical in journalism. Any assignments turned in late will automatically be penalized 50%.


100 – 91 points: A

90 – 81 points: B

80 – 71 points: C

70 – 61 points: D

60 – 50 points: E

below 50: F

Class ethics

(A) Any use of research material quoted in papers and exams must be acknowledged. Such use must meet the following conditions:

the beginning and end of the quoted material must be clearly shown with quotation marks;

when quoting from periodicals or books, the name(s) of the author(s), book or article title, year of publication, and page(s) on which the material appears must all be stated in footnotes or endnotes;

internet sourcing must include a full web address where the material can be found, as well as the date the writer visited the web page.

(B) In the event that research material is used without proper acknowledgment as defined above, the paper will be deemed plagiarized and handed over to the Disciplinary Commission of the Faculty of Social Sciences.

(C) Students are expected to arrive for class on time and prepared to discuss their monitoring, as well as assigned readings and broadcast materials. If for some reason you have to miss a class, please notify the instructor via e-mail.

Poslední úprava: Bc. Sára Lochmanová (08.02.2024)

viz Sylabus

Metody výuky - angličtina
Poslední úprava: Bc. Sára Lochmanová (08.02.2024)

In person seminar/lecture.

Sylabus - angličtina
Poslední úprava: Frank Kuznik (07.02.2024)

1. Introduction and Précis

Overview of class content, philosophy and methodology; media monitoring assignments for the semester; student input on topics and materials.

2. Fundamentals of American Media and Governance

Overview and explanation of the American legislative and judicial systems; delineation and political alignment of the media ecosystem; review and analysis of the primary election calendar.

Read and watch: Articles and videos assigned by the instructor

3. Pulitzer, Hearst and the Birth of Modern American Journalism

An introduction to the lives and careers of the founding fathers of American journalism, and analysis of how they created the media template for the 20th century.

Watch: Joseph Pulitzer: Voice of the People and Citizen Hearst

4. After Super Tuesday: Monitoring Reports and Analysis

A postmortem of media coverage across the political spectrum of the biggest event of the primary season, with assessments of bias, accuracy and the impact going forward.

Watch: Election coverage assigned by the instructor

5. The Rise of the Right and Polarization of America

How the conservative revolution of the ’80s and ’90s transformed American media and laid the groundwork for the fracturing of American society.

Read: Excerpts from Evil Geniuses: The Unmaking of America and Talk Radio’s America: How an Industry Took Over a Political Party That Took Over the United States; supplementary materials about the Fairness Doctrine, antitrust law and corporate ownership of the media.

Watch: Alex Jones: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and video clips of Rush Limbaugh.

6. Disinformation and AI Workshop

An in-depth examination of disinformation techniques and assessment of their impact, with an emphasis on artificial intelligence, using examples culled from student monitoring.

Read: Excerpts from A Citizens’ Guide to Fake News

Watch: Short course How to Spot Misinformation Online

Read and watch: Articles and video clips suggested by students

7. Naked Partisanship: How Rupert Murdoch Weaponized the Media

An examination and assessment of Murdoch’s career in yellow journalism, its impact in Australia, the UK and in particular the US, where Fox News radically altered the American political and media landscape.

Read: Excerpts from Hoax: Donald Trump, Fox News and the Dangerous Distortion of Truth

Watch: How Rupert Murdoch Changed the World

8. Facebook and the Birth of Social Media

The creation and growth of Facebook, how it fueled global political unrest, changed the rules of publishing in the US and spawned a new, lawless digital world.

Read: Excerpts from Broken Code: Inside Facebook and the Fight to Expose its Harmful Secrets

Watch: The Facebook Dilemma

9. X: How to Destroy a Social Media Site

An assessment of the dangers and impact of one-man control of a major media outlet, as personified by Elon Musk and his hostile acquisition and makeover of Twitter.

Watch: Elon Musk’s Twitter Takeover

10. Free Speech Workshop

Case studies of the uses and limits of a cornerstone of American democracy, and how it has been distorted in the evolving world of social media and online publishing.

Read: Readings assigned by the instructor

11. Election 2020: The Brainwashing of America

How a lie perpetrated by Donald Trump and promoted by Fox News led to an insurrection that deeply divided America and set the stage for the 2024 election.

Read: Excerpts from Network of Lies: The Epic Saga of Fox News, Donald Trump and the Battle for American Democracy

Watch: Clips from Fox News broadcasts

12. Election 2024: America on the Brink

Concluding assessment and evaluation of election coverage across the political spectrum, insights and projections for the remainder of 2024 with a focus on campaign coverage, the conventions, general election coverage and the likely impact of the election outcome.

Read and watch: Articles and video clips suggested by students

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