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Democracy Matters - Episode 16: Evaluating Political News in an Election Year


by Carah Ong Whaley

 
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SUMMARY: In this episode, we talk with JMU School of Media Arts and Design Assistant Professor Ryan Alessi about the best strategies for evaluating political news stories in a hyperpartisan election year.


James Madison wrote to W.T. Barry on August 4, 1822, “A popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both.” An unfettered press has been upheld as essential for democratic self-governance given the media’s role in influencing and relaying public opinion, and providing and conveying information on issues of public importance. While digital, social and online media pose challenges for democratic practices and institutions, and for the civic function of the media, they are also transforming the ways communities communicate and share information. In this complex and changing mediascape, it is more challenging for individuals to evaluate the information broadcast through digital and social media, including distinguishing between credible sources and those propagating misinformation and disinformation. Even as we have individual responsibility to evaluate the information we consume, we must also ask what kind of media do publics need and should they demand to ensure democratic accountability and self-governance. 

In this episode, we talk with JMU School of Media Arts and Design Assistant Professor Ryan Alessi about the best strategies for evaluating political news stories this election year.

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Published: Friday, November 29, 2019

Last Updated: Thursday, April 28, 2022

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