Political Journalism

Question One

The current information age prides in the development of artificial intelligence systems, bots being an ideal example that is currently in use. Dubois and McKelvey note that bots have been used in electoral arenas to influence public opinions (28). While some have beneficences, other bots have been identified as to be nefarious, spreading political disinformation through Twitter.

Dubois and McKelvey suggest that bots – including Twitter bots spreading political misinformation, may be combated by first identifying them as either a symptom of systemic, agentic, or neo-institutional failure (31). In a symptom of a systemic perspective, it is critical to understand that AI is still under development, and there is yet a lot to learn from it. Therefore, tech developers can manipulate the unexplored or sophisticated integrals of using bots, so that they are used for the good of those who understand them. Thus, regulators, including government agencies, may invest in the learning and development of AI to ensure stringent measures against the development of bots for ill purposes. Nevertheless, Perrow notes that there is inadequate institutional knowledge concerning the damage that bots could cause (310). According to Dubois, and McKelvey, this is an agentic failure (30); and various agencies should cooperate with regulators to come up with codes of conduct or informed consent systems that alarm the public concerning the intended purpose of their bots. For instance, a tweet from a bot should have an indicator that it was sent from a bot. Lastly, in a neo-institutional perspective, bots require an independent regulator, that would focus on the ramifications of Tweeter bots. That is, an agency that oversees the development, regulates, and registers bots, with rules and codes for which nefarious can be incriminated.


Question Two

It is inarguable that some strategies against COVID-19 have seemed better than others, thus revealing governments that are proactive and others that are not. Given that most strategies are based on awareness creation and distribution of information.

Vietnam, though under resources compared to the United States, has made sure to collect and disseminate valuable official information promptly, and cooperated with civil societies and NGOs to fight the pandemic (La et al. 1). The study finds that the success of the Vietnam government underlies in the utilization of variables such as chronology, policy response, and media communication.

Thus, the government and the public had a clear picture of the chronological spread of infections, adhered to policies such as the closure of borders and cessation of movement in epicenters of infections, and utilized science journalism to communicate through the official press and social media. Unlike in the US, the government firstly had a denial of infections due to poor chronology, failed to close boarders timely, and kept on misinforming the public about preparedness and severity of the infection (Paz n.p).

Further, Vietnam and the US are comparable in their dissemination of information. According to La et al., the Vietnam government was proactive in disseminating and support the spread of useful and truthful information (13). They find that the government sourced information from WHO and monitored its boarders, and allowed the public to access the information through the official press, social media, and backed thousands of articles that were written about COVID-19 (La et al. 13). In contrast, the American government either did nothing or lied to the public concerning the control of borders and testing programs. From press speeches compiled by The Atlantic, Trump’s government used propaganda to make citizens feel safe, through strategic manipulation of press releases.

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Question Three

Media is an influential social tool that people in power might use for good or bad. In Ghana, Osei-Appiah finds that media has become a political tool to undermine democracy through humor and public sensation. Often, and as propaganda, tricks like this are hard to notice.

Osei-Appiah found that media houses use humor and sensation to water down some critical political information. The watering down mainly underlies in the monetization of new content by private media, or partisanship in some public media. According to some radio station editors, the news section of a radio or TV program in Ghana is treated as a show, such that the media bosses want news content that “sells” than other stations (Osei-Appiah 67). Besides, the study finds that media houses are more concerned about entertaining their listeners and viewers (Osei-Appiah 67). In that light, both humor and sensation are utilized to maximize the monetization of content in media stations.

Nevertheless, these strategies undermine the democracy of citizens in Ghana. That is, the media has a systemic sieve for information reaching the public, that not everyone has equal chances to be heard or to have influence in the public sector. For instance, Osei-Appiah found that some women politicians have failed to have a chance in media houses, where they can air their interest since they lac controversy or conflict situations that would garner huge media audience (67). Also, through technology, journalists select only dramatic scenes and hilarious events using soundbites and fail to air other important information (Osei-Appiah 68). Such strategies have led to only a section of personalities gaining popularity through media. They lead the public regardless of their proficiency, which is discrimination against democracy in Ghana.

Question Four

Journalism may differ from national to global, but still, in terms of coverage frequency, salient words used, and sourcing as in the case of US and South Korean cases. In a comparative analysis, Moon probes these differences in the coverage of conflicts that happened in Peninsula Korea, particularly the sinking of Cheonan.

Moon finds that South Korea has the highest frequency for the collection of media information compared to the US and UK (271). Note that the incident led to the killing of 46 sailors. In that light, the US media is reluctant in covering international news in terms of frequency compared to South Korea. Also, the two national media sample reveal differential use of salient words. For instance, Moon finds that the predominant key phrases in the news coverage include North Korea and South Korea, state of war, conflict, and border (271). In contrast, South Korean media quoted on several occasions where leaders of both North and South Korea insisting on the cooperation of both nations in combating their differences. Concerning sourcing, Moon reports that the US media houses majorly relied on associated media, while South Korean media houses relied on the government’s official statements and family members of the victims (271). Further, a news correspondent in Washington DC explained that they rely on news from a North Korean team that collected news from online sources (Moon 277). Thus, the news sourcing for US journalists on international news is likely of low quality compared to the sourcing for South Korean media journalists.

According to Moon, the differences may underly in the freedom to openly criticize public policies and the culture of reporting both national and international news. For instance, the Korean Securities Dealers Automated Quotations is against the use of divisive words such as “raised tension” and the reporting culture in the US is mostly the “trust me” kind of journalism (Moon 277).

Works Cited

Dubois, Elizabeth, and Fenwick Robert McKelvey. “Political Bots: Disrupting Canada’S Democracy”. Canadian Journal Of Communication, vol 44, no. 2, 2019. CISP Journal Services, doi:10.22230/cjc.2019v44n2a3511.

La, Viet-Phuong et al. “Policy Response, Social Media And Science Journalism For The Sustainability Of The Public Health System Amid The COVID-19 Outbreak: The Vietnam Lessons”. Sustainability, vol 12, no. 7, 2020, p. 2931. MDPI AG, doi:10.3390/su12072931. Accessed 16 Aug 2020.

Moon, Miri. “Manufacturing Consent? The Role Of The International News On The Korean Peninsula”. Global Media And Communication, vol 14, no. 3, 2018, pp. 265-281. SAGE Publications, doi:10.1177/1742766518780176. Accessed 16 Aug 2020.

Osei-Appiah, Sally. “News Media Logic And Democracy: Strange Bedfellows In Political News-Making Practices Of Private Radio Stations In Ghana”. African Journalism Studies, vol 40, no. 3, 2019, pp. 57-72. Informa UK Limited, doi:10.1080/23743670.2020.1731565. Accessed 16 Aug 2020.

Paz, Christian. “All The President’S Lies About The Coronavirus”. The Atlantic, 2020, https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2020/07/trumps-lies-about-coronavirus/608647/.

Perrow, Charles. “The Meltdown Was Not An Accident.”. Markets On Trial: The Economic Sociology Of The U.S. Financial Crisis, 2011, pp. 307–330. In M. Lounsbury & P.M. Hirsch (Eds.), https://sociology.yale.edu/publications/meltdown-was-not-accident. Accessed 16 Aug 2020.