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Humanities Libertexts

1.S: Communication in the Information Age (Summary)

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  • Recommended Reading

    • Bennett, W. Lance. News: The Politics of Illusion, 8th ed. New York: Longman, 2008. A lively, wide-ranging critique and explanation of the failure of the news media to serve democracy.
    • Bimber, Bruce. Information and American Democracy: Technology in the Evolution of Political Power. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003. A sweeping overview of American politics in different “information ages.”
    • Chadwick, Andrew. Internet Politics: States, Citizens, and New Communication Technologies. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006. A thoughtful overview of the political implications, issues, and influence of the Internet.
    • Compaine, Benjamin M., and Douglas Gomery. Who Owns The Media? 3rd ed. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, 2000. A detailed account of the organization and financing of the media.
    • Edelman, Murray. From Art to Politics: How Artistic Creations Shape Political Conceptions. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995. A surprisingly upbeat account of political communication through art and fiction.
    • Hamilton, James T. All the News That’s Fit to Sell: How the Market Transforms Information into News. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2003. A compelling and detailed application of economic theory to explain the contents of news.
    • Schudson, Michael. Advertising, the Uneasy Persuasion: Its Dubious Impact on American Society. New York: Basic Books, 1984. A distinctive discussion of the role of advertising in American society and economy.
    • West, Darrell M. The Rise and Fall of the Media Establishment. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2001. A brief history of professional journalism from its inception to what the author claims is its current loss of power.

    Recommended Viewing

    • All the President’s Men (1976). Through investigative journalism, two Washington Post reporters uncover the Watergate affair and bring down President Nixon’s men. Based on their book.
    • Battleship Potemkin (1925). Soviet director Sergei Eisenstein’s stirring tale of an incident in the abortive 1905 Russian revolution, a brilliant illustration of how to make a film with collective protagonists (notably, the people of Odessa).
    • Citizen Kane (1941). Orson Welles’s investigation of the life of a media mogul is matchless moviemaking.
    • Duck Soup (1933). The Marx Brothers’ anarchic send-up of the incompetence and hypocrisy of governments and of the folly of war. Groucho becomes leader of the country of Freedonia and leads it into a comedic war.
    • Good Night and Good Luck (2005). Based on the real-life conflict in the 1950s in which television newsman Edward R. Murrow defied corporate pressure and brought down demagogic senator Joseph McCarthy.
    • His Girl Friday (1939). In this wise-cracking comedy, cynical editor (Cary Grant) uses his wiles to keep his star reporter and ex-wife (Rosalind Russell) from leaving the newspaper.
    • The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962). Director John Ford’s meditative western in which the news makes the myth that establishes the wrong man as the hero and successful politician.
    • Network (1976). Television company executives exploit an anchorman’s madness on the air to boost ratings.
    • The Player (1992). Robert Altman’s delightful satire of Hollywood, its filmmakers, and its films.
    • Rashomon (1950). Four versions of an ambush, rape, and murder are shown in Japanese director Akira Kurosawa’s famous exploration of the elusive nature of truth.
    • Shattered Glass (2003). Fictionalized version of the true story of a journalist who is fired from The New Republic magazine when it is discovered that he has fabricated many of his stories.
    • The Social Network (2010). A fascinating account, partly factual and partly fictional, of the founding of Facebook.
    • Star Wars (1977). The first of the multipart saga applies themes from the American Revolution to planetary political systems.
    • Sullivan’s Travels (1941). Director Preston Sturges’s tale of a director of mindless Hollywood studio films who wants to make films of social commentary but discovers the value of comedy.
    • Triumph of the Will (1935). Hitler’s favorite filmmaker, Leni Riefenstahl, made this propaganda documentary of the 1934 Nazi party rally in Nuremberg, a celebration of the fascist state.
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