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Media and Politics

Senator Joseph McCarthy questioning attorney Joseph Welch during Congress’s Army-McCarthy hearings in 1954.
Lesson Plan Author(s): 
Ian Ferguson
Teaching Area: 
WI 2., CSI 14, CWI 15
Grade Level: 
Teaching Level: 
Secondary Childhood
Origins Item(s): 

This lesson plan deals with the history of for-profit media, and how it has evolved with new technologies over the past century. The main theme of this lesson plan is showing students the relationship between media and politics, and how they can both influence each other. The Origins article begins by talking about the presidential election of 2016, and how the media influenced that election. It also discusses the history of a profit-driven media and it explains how the situation has evolved into its current state. This lesson plan begins with a brief discussion with the students about what they believe the relationship between media and politics to be. After that discussion, the lesson continues with a mini-lecture in which the teacher will describe the history of the profit-driven media, the government regulations on the media companies in the 1940s, then the deregulation of those companies in the 1980s and 90s, and ending with the media in its current state today. After the mini-lecture and a brief discussion with the students to synthesize the material, the lesson continues with a Stations activity. In this activity, the students will be looking at a graph showing the number of media corporations, two newspaper clippings demonstrating yellow journalism, and then two separate sections from the Origins article itself. Throughout these stations, the students get to see the profit-driven media, and they get to see the interaction between government and the media. After the activity, there will be another brief discussion and then an exit ticket for the students to complete. The PowerPoint presentation, stations documents, and all worksheets are included with the lesson plan.

Instructional Strategies:
• Mini-lecture
• Whole Class Discussions
• Stations

Key Words: 
Yellow Journalism, Profit-driven Media, Government Regulation of Media Companies