Monthly Archives: June 2013

What Role Should The Local Media Play?

The media typically plays three roles.  In no particular order, the media plays the role of a gatekeeper, scorekeeper, and a watchdog.  The media as a gatekeeper simply means that the elites who control a particular news entity decide what gets on the air or in a newspaper.  Thus, if the story runs, it becomes news.  When the media plays the role of scorekeeper, it tends to add numbers to spice up the content of the story itself.  For instance, a reporter may tell you a story about three people injured in a crash or that stock prices dropped by 22 points.  Numbers and statistics bring life to a story.  When the media plays the watchdog, they are acting as a protector or as an investigator regarding events that might have an impact on your life.  An example would be an investigation into government corruption and how that corruption has affected your wallet or pocketbook.

Which of these roles, if any, do you expect the local media to play?  By local, we are talking about community newspapers or local radio stations.  Try not to consider large metropolitan media entities when answering this question.

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Can You Have It Both Ways?

Let’s try to make sense of this statement from David Magleby:

“People want more services but at the same time would like to see their taxes cut.”  Can you have it both ways?  What potential benefits or problem could occur if you have more services without paying as much for them as you already have?

Recent Events and Federalism

The topic of federalism has once again popped up with the recent United States Supreme Court decisions relating to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and to the initiative passed by the voters in the state of California, Proposition 8.  In the case involving the Voting Rights Act of 1965, a key piece of the law was overturned as irrelevant to today’s society.  In the Act, officials from fifteen states would have needed to receive federal permission if they wished to change voting laws in their states.  Most of the states in question were in the South and had a history of discrimination at the ballot box.  That portion was overturned by the Court.
With regards to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), married same-sex couples can now receive federal benefits which were once prohibited by DOMA.  In the case of Proposition 8, two lower courts overturned a ban on same-sex marriage. The ban, which was Proposition 8, was passed in a public initiative.  The Supreme Court upheld the ruling in the lower courts.  Same-sex marriage will be legal once again in California.

Where do you stand on the topic of federalism in regards to “hot button” issues regarding race, culture, and morality?  Which level of government should decide the outcome to these issues?

Local News and You

Current Events Quiz

This week’s quiz is live in MySearchLab.  Good Luck!

States’ Rights Today

The Anti-Federalists of the pre-Civil War era staked their claim to the idea of “states’ rights“.  This means that the powers expressly reserved to the states are for the states and the states alone.  Anti-Federalists or decentralists base their arguments around the 10th Amendment.  Some have referred to this amendment as the “States’ Rights Amendment”.  The decentralist belief is that the state and local governments are closer to the people.

Name an issue that you see being handled by the federal government.  Then explain why you believe that issue would be served by state and local government.  (You can also look at from this point of view:  name an issue being handled by the federal government, but you believe it would not be handled very well by the states or local governments.)

What is Federalism’s Future?

As many political scientists point out, the debate regarding federalism still exists today in the form of centralists and decentralists arguing about the size and scope of government.  Those who are centralists favor more national action in regards to solving problems.  Those on the decentralist side of the debate believe in more state/local action in solving problems.

Which direction do you think the United States is headed in terms of federalism and the centralism vs. decentralism debate?  Why do believe your opinion to be true?