Philosophy 3127 Paper 2

Paper 2


Fall 2017

Prof. Klein

Length: 7 pages (1-inch margins, page numbers, name and title on page 1.)

Due in class on Friday, December 1. (Hardcopy and T-square.)

News Coverage of Similar Events (Election Interference)

In Manufacturing Consent (2002) Edward Herman & Noam Chomsky (H&C) claim that “…the Media serve, and propagandize on behalf of, the powerful societal interests that control and finance them.”

In the spirit of the Enlightenment, let’s critically examine that claim. Let’s neither blindly accept it nor blindly reject it. Rather, let’s collect facts and apply logic and draw our own conclusions. Does a methodologically rigorous analysis of the facts support the claim of media bias i.e. of “shadows on the cave wall”?

In this paper you will apply Herman and Chomsky’s paired case study method to two (alleged) events:

1. US interference in the Russian election of 1996

2. Russian interference in the US election of 2016.

For background on the 1996 election, you can read Wikipedia :…

A selection of the relevant newspaper articles are available as PDF files on T-square, at RESOURCES->Paper 2. (Do not print these files, as they are rather large!)

In your paper you should first summarize the Propaganda Model and the paired case study method. This summary may be up to a third of your paper. Then you should perform both quantitative and qualitative analysis on the articles, as illustrated in H&C Chapters 2 and 3 (esp. Table 2.1.)

Note that there is too much news coverage to read each article in detail. So you must use some methods to reduce the data. Here are a few suggestions:

• Read all headlines

• Read most opening paragraphs

• For the most promising articles, read the full body

• Identify key terms and use the search function to count those terms

Tell the reader whether the data 1) strongly supports or 2) strongly refutes or 3) weakly supports or 4) weakly refutes or 5) allows no conclusion for the Propaganda Model. You might conclude the paper by relating this particular research to larger questions of illusion and freedom, false consciousness, or “The Matrix”.

In writing the paper you may discuss the cases with colleagues, but you must author the paper alone.

Use the American Psychological Association (APA) style:

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