1. Discuss the role that the media has played in the emergence of the Tea Party? Would the Tea Party have the influence it has had on political discourse without social media and cable news? Explain.
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The media has aided the Tea Party by spreading their beliefs and identity among the American people. Fox news especially has been at the forefront of such campaigns, seconded by radio talk shows and blog world. The media has played a crucial role by providing information to the Tea Party activists. The media that helps Tea Party is mostly conservative one, like Fox news as opposed to CNN. The Tea Party would not have the influence it has had on political discourse without being aided by the media. This is because the conservatism media has aided to exaggerate the grassroots’ networks of the party contrary to the reality on the ground. The media shows the party as having a large number of followers in the grassroots, which is a little exaggerated (Skocpol & Williamson, 2011).
2. What are some Tea Party policies? In what ways do members of the Tea Party share some of the issue divides of conservatism more generally? What do Skocpol and Williamson have to say about these divisions?
Tea party activists define themselves as workers who deserve to benefit from government programmes such as Medicare and social security. They oppose government spending on people who are not workers since they do not deserve it. According to Williamson and Skocpol, Tea Party has ethnic and racial resentment because they believe that most immigrants are non-workers, which makes them undeserving. They also believe that the immigrants’ immigration control is not tight enough and the immigrants would one day cause a societal change. Tea Party is conservative in some issues, such as federal government spending, which they argue is designed to aid the ethnic and racial minority. They view this as an intention to aggravate racial integration, which is not the case (Skocpol & Williamson, 2011).
3. What are some stereotypes of Tea Party members in the media? What do Skocpol and Williamson have to say about these stereotypes? Do you find the authors arguments convincing?
Tea Party members in the media like Michelle Malkin and Rick Santelli have criticised the Obama government by widespread promotion of anti-government policies protests. They have also openly criticised government policies on matters such as housing crisis. According to Williamson and Skocpol, these stereotypes have served to inform the people about the policies and beliefs of the party (Skocpol & Williamson, 2011). Being media icons, these people have even worn masses for the party. Skocpol and Williamson are convincing because their findings are supported by research data.
4. Who is the Tea Partiers (demographically and ideologically) according Chapter 1 of the Skocpol and Williamson book and what do they believe?
Demographically, Tea Partiers are mostly white old people. More men are tea party members than women. According to Skocpol and Williamson, in Massachusetts, 97 percent of them are white, 57 percent are males and 83 percent are over forty six years old. Most of the Tea Partiers are retirees. Ideologically, Tea Partiers are conservative and believe that they are not represented by the US government as it was in their youth days (Skocpol & Williamson, 2011).
5. Discuss Skocpol and Williamson find regarding Tea Party reverence for the constitution and its impact on their beliefs and attitudes about politics and government.
Grassroots’ followers take constitution seriously and believe that everyone should live according to it. When the constitution is disregarded, there are consequences, according to the Tea Partiers. For example, in Massachusetts, the people were disappointed by a senator’s decision to vote for financial reforms. According to Tea Partiers, this was in disregard of the constitution and the laws governing reforms (Skocpol & Williamson, 2011). They believe that the government flaunts the constitutional law in many ways and that those who deserve to be protected by the constitution are not because of the policies of the government. This has strengthened their resolve to oppose anything that the government proposes to implement as a tool for self preservation and protection of the American people.
6. How do some tea partiers reconcile their opposition for government programs and regulations with government regulations and programs that they benefit from?
Government programmes such as social security and Medicare have been the basis of Tea Party opposition to the government. Most of them, however, are beneficiaries of such programmes. To defend themselves, they argue that those not deserving of the programmes should not benefit from them. According to them, those who contribute to such programmes through working like them are the only deserving beneficiaries. They, however, ambiguously define non-workers as immigrants and young people (Skocpol & Williamson, 2011).
7. It is clear in the film ‘who’ is wagging the dog; however, who is the dog being wagged? Who is the target of the political and media manipulation orchestrated by Conrad, Winnie and Stanley?
The target of political and media manipulation in the movie Wag the Dog are the American voters. The populace is depicted as a dog being wagged because although they hold the final decisive power in form of their voting cards, they are easily manipulated through the media by the tail. The tail in this case is the presidential candidate who requires the American voters to continue being in the office (Levinson, 1997). The tail can manipulate the dog to streamline its decisive power in the tail’s favour.
8. “Change the story, change the lead” is Conrad Bream’s motto for how to handle the media in the midst of the sex scandal that threatens to undermine the president’s re-election campaign. What does the motto mean?
Due to the sex scandal, the 17 percentage lead held by the president was threatened by the sex scandal. Conrad is invited to deal with the situation by making the story die out. This he does by his motto “change the story, change the lead”. Changing the story means that by creating a bigger story, the populace can forget about the scandal. This is because Conrad knows that the media will always capitalize on airing such stories of the affluent in the society (Levinson, 1997). A change in the story translates to a change in the political opinion of the people. This means that the declining lead of the president would be reversed to its original level, if not better. This simply means that the story on the media has a direct effect on the voting trends in American set up.
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