In this part, you analyze how different news outlets are covering the presidential election. Specifically, you will examine how the Fox News website compares to the MSNBC website in terms of covering the 2020 presidential campaign. You should be looking for specific examples of differences in how they cover the Trump campaign, the Biden campaign, and the presidential election in general. In comparing and contrasting each websites coverage of events, you are looking for signs of bias: do particular headlines or stories make a particular candidate look better or worse? Do photos demonstrate any difference in the portrayal of Biden/Democrats vs. Trump/Republicans? Do you see any signs of bias in terms of WHICH stories are covered in the first place (like if a story appears on one website as a major story while not appearing on the other website at all)?
For this part of the Election 2020 project, the goal is to write about political polarization and the electoral process. Polarization is the idea that supporters of each political party have extreme views about leaders and members of the opposite party. This division makes the country weak and extremely difficult to govern, no matter which party controls the White House, the House of Representatives, and/or the Senate. Extremists tend to refuse to compromise, so policymaking tends to either not happen (deadlock and inaction) or policies are simply imposed without significant support or compromise. Democratic political systems are supposed to be systems for processing conflicts to produce compromise among competing groups without violence. The lack of compromise threatens the very existence of our democratic institutions and contributes to our continuing weakness in the world.
As you have watched the 2020 Election process unfold, think about how polarization was evident throughout the process. In what ways did you see evidence of polarization? Candidates? Parties? Media outlets? Rallies and demonstrations? Specific policies and platforms? Public opinion? Mobilized interest groups? State-by-state differences? Urban-rural differences? There are many ways in which the polarization of our country was made evident during the electoral process. This assignment is about clearly identifying any THREE examples of polarization. The above are just ways that you might start to think about how polarization permeates our electoral process. The most essential aspect of your essay is about how you define and explain each example.
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