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Politics and Media

Politics & Media: Politicking in the Age of Instant News

Part One of an ongoing series on Politics and Media
March 17 and 22, 2011

It’s the intersection of politics, media and technology, and whatever one’s opinion of its impact, but one thing is for sure—it’s a game changer. How has the media of the 21st century affected politicians and the political landscape? Is local media becoming irrelevant due to the conglomeration of media outlets? What are the hazards of immediate information?

These questions and more were explored in two days of events on March 17 & 22, 2011.  For the program that includes the schedule of events and biographies, click here.

The conversation began with a panel of South Carolina media experts who both celebrated the advent of social media and bemoaned the demise of local investigative journalism, especially as traditional journalism outlets find their budgets slashed. A salient question: should the discrepancy between Governor Nikki Haley’s stated income on her tax return ($22,000) and job application ($125,000) have been uncovered and discussed during the campaign rather than after the election?

Next, Congressman Bob Inglis and South Carolina State Senator Vincent Sheheen engaged in a candid conversation with Mark Quinn of SCETV’s The Big Picture. They felt media can work for or against a candidate, but overall, the message from both sides of the aisle was clear: we need to agree on facts and we need to have accountability in public discourse.

The second day of the conference offered a unique approach to the question of “Is Deliberation Dead?” as Furman students and WYFF4 broadcasters presented “Tweeting the Constitution.” These original vignettes provided a humorous look at how our founding fathers might have fared had they deliberated over the issues surrounding the writing of the Constitution amidst the cacophony of instant and constant media. For the Cast of Characters, click here.  A panel of national experts responded to this presentation, providing personal insight into the negative effects of today’s media on policy-making.

The conference ended with a keynote address, “The Presidential Bully Pulpit: Does it Exist?” by co-founder of USAToday and career White House Correspondent, Richard Benedetto. Benedetto was a visiting Woodrow Wilson Fellow in Residence, and he spent a full week at Furman, conversing with students and faculty across the disciplines. For his biography, click here.