Campaign Coverage in an Age of Disinformation (APA2350.01) (day/time change 7/8/2024)

Andrea Bernstein

Taking Hannah Arendt’s 1967 New Yorker article “Truth and Politics” as a foundational text, this course will examine how the 2024 election is being covered, and should be covered, in an age when basic facts about politics, history, and voting itself are in dispute. Truth and politics have always lived in a wary co-existence, as Arendt writes, but the modern tools of campaigning—which include misinformation, deceptive use of social media, AI and attacking the press as the enemy—make establishing the basic consensus around which democracy is framed nearly impossible.

We’ll begin the class with the classic movie All the President’s Men, and examine coverage of the contested outcome of the Bush v. Gore race. We’ll look at the tools and methods of disinformation campaigns abroad and at home in the 2016 and 2020 elections, through reports, hearings, podcasts and book excerpts. The course will then turn to the 2024 presidential campaign by examining paid and social media, debates, television shows and other messaging in an era when, as Arendt presciently wrote, “the sense by which we take our bearings in the real world…is being destroyed.” The course will conclude with identifying models for hope and resilience. Students will be highly encouraged to attend the fall Public Policy Forums, which will comprise part of the material for the class.

Learning Outcomes:
Media Literacy
Principles of Democracy
Recognition and Decoding of Disinformation
Recognition and Decoding of Misinformation

Delivery Method: Fully in-person
Course Level: 2000-level
Credits: 2
W 8:30AM - 12:10PM (1st seven weeks)
Maximum Enrollment: 25
Course Frequency: One time only

Categories: 2000 , Advancement of Public Action , All courses , Day/Time Changes , First Seven Week , Fully In-Person , Two Credit , Updates