Friday, January 30, 2009

Sullivan's Commentary on News Media

Just like Victoria hypothesized, Sullivan's Ath lecture hit directly on issues we have discussed so far in class. In case you were unable to attend, there were two points that fit especially well with our course material:

New Media in the 2008 Election
Sullivan highlighted the importance of new media in the 2008 election, going as far as arguing that without the presence of new media, Obama probably would not have won the election.

Media as a Check
In last week's Iyengar and McGrady reading we learned how one of the roles of media is as a watchdog. Sullivan stressed how much media really does serve as a check on governmental practices. Not only can investigative journalists reveal unknown information to the public, but media has the ability to demand transparency in government. He mentioned that media had a part in the atrocities at Gitmo and in the Iraq War because journalists had not pushed the government harder for answers.


  1. I think its also important to highlight Sullivan's discussion of how the media has changed, especially in the last 15 years. There was a question of how transparent (or nontransparent) the Bush administration was, whether the Obama administration will continue that trend and if the general public should be concerned. Sullivan responded by emphasizing that the very nature of the media has changed dramatically. Specifically, from an elite group of 5 or 6 serious public figures who had unlimited access to the Executive and therefore a duty to report rather than interpret, to a vast array of news options. Correspondingly, Presidents have sought to limit access in order to maintain privacy and thus far, the Obama administration has given him no cause for concern.

    Sullivan also mentioned us in his blog today:

  2. On a Sullivan note not related to new media, he mentioned time and time again that Bush had violated the Constitution on many occasions, but he never actually *specified* what parts of the Constitution he meant. Maybe he meant the "spirit" of the Constitution?

    It was kind of interesting... I was in the Meet & Greet session with him at 4pm before the dinner started, and he actually asked all of us in the room what he thought he should speak on. He asked us what we wanted to hear about. He claimed that he never writes speeches and was planning to do ours at the Ath. on the fly...