Podcasts on public opinion polls and news media

Podcasts on Public Opinion Polls and News Media

Purpose 

For students to listen to and analyze a set of podcasts discussing the complexities of public opinion survey methodologies in the 21st century and potential bias in the news media. 

Instructions

Write a 2-3 page paper (12-point Times New Roman font, double-spaced, 1” margins) that includes your answers to a series of questions based on what you learned from Chapter 6 of the G&C textbook and each of the podcasts below:

  1. In an age of social media like Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat, and in an age where the landline telephone has become an anachronism, is public opinion polling using telephone survey responses the best measure of public opinion? Is it reliable?
  2. The consensus of public opinion experts in the 2016 presidential election was that Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton was the strong favorite to win the election over Republican candidate Donald Trump. Why do you think the experts got it wrong? Is there anything to the idea, advanced by candidate Trump himself, that his strongest supporters avoided answering public opinion polls, being suspicious of the media, and thus those samples were biased?
  • “How Biased Is Your Media?” podcast can be found here:  http://freakonomics.com/podcast/how-biased-is-your-media/ The Freakonomics Radio podcast takes on the question of whether the left or the right is correct about media bias, interviewing media practitioners and academic scholars. 
  • Questions
  1. Consider the recent debate over how much social media corporations should filter and deplatform sources of information that some consider to be unreliable or engaged in propaganda. Is this a role appropriate for companies like Google and Facebook? What role does the mainstream media have in this process, and should government step in?
  2. The political scientist Morris Fiorina contends that political polarization is a myth. He contends that, while elites and activists in American politics have polarized, the American people remain centrist in their views on hot button cultural issues and other divisive political topics. Other political scientists, like Alan Abramowitz, believe that American public opinion has significantly shifted toward the poles. What do you think? What evidence would you marshal to support your position?  Does the news media play a role in contemporary political polarization?

Due Date

Your written answers must be uploaded on Canvas no later than Monday, May 20th by 11:59 pm.

Grading

Each written answer includes clear and concise arguments using at least 2 in-text citations from Chapter 6 of the B&C textbook and 1 in-text citation from the podcasts (i.e., each written answer has at least 3 total in-text citations)=6 points

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