Critical Analysis Assignment 2:
News and Information Seeking in the Current Media Environment
DUE: 11:59 p.m. (EDT), Sunday, November 2.

Introduction:
Citizens need access to multiple viewpoints and perspectives on important issues in order to
make informed choices in a democracy. However, in the textbook, Baran suggests that the
internet only allows us to seek information that is consistent with our existing attitudes and
beliefs, which may be harmful for democracy: “Cybercitizens have little need to examine their
own biases. They need not question their own assumptions about the world and how it works.
There is little benefit to seeking out and attempting to understand the biases and assumptions
of others outside the self-chosen virtual communities.” Is this what you do?

Questions to be addressed (be sure to answer all questions):
1. Where do you primarily seek news and political information? Note: You do not have to limit
yourself to online sources.
2. Based on what you’ve heard others say, is your primary source (or sources) generally
characterized as “liberal/left-wing”, “conservative/right-wing”, or more centrist/not easily
identifiable as left or right wing?
3. How can you tell the political affiliation or lack thereof for your news source? What are the
likely biases of your source?
4. How often do you seek a source with an opposing viewpoint? Consult two news sources with
opposing viewpoints on a contemporary issue (e.g., wars in Afghanistan or health care reform).
These can be news magazines, newspapers, news radio shows, television news programs, or
blogs; please be sure to list the sources you consult. Describe how you were able to discern their
viewpoints or biases. Describe at least three differences between the way the sources presented
evidence and/or opinion (Provide the links). Describe at least two things you learned from a
source that came from a point of view that is different from yours.
5. Consider the quote from Baran above. Do you agree with it or disagree with it? Why?

Format/technical requirements of assignment:
1. The assignment must be 500-600 words in length and be double spaced. Also, it must be
submitted by the due date or late penalties will be 10% or one letter grade per day late. The
submission must be in a single file in the following formats: DOC (BUT NOT DOCX).
2. DO NOT include a cover page; simply place your NAME and GARNET USER NAME
(example: ab08g) in the upper right-hand corner of the page.
3. Write in complete sentences and use correct grammar; assignments will be evaluated using
the criteria posted in the Critical Analysis Assignments section of the Bb site.
4. To submit the assignment, go to Critical Analysis Assignments > Critical Analysis
Assignment 2, and then, you will need to submit an electronic copy to the SafeAssign link.

 

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