Each student will be given a character. Students will be asked to give their character’s perspective regarding the following questions denoted with an asterisk:
*1. In the article there is a quote from MSNBC talk show host Rachel Maddow. She says that if she wants to boost her ratings she will highlight villainous behavior from Republicans because that’s what her audience expects. She also says that conservative talk shows do the same thing. How would your character react to this statement?
Example Response: (Parent) A parent may be concerned that news coverage constantly focuses on greed and overall bad behavior rather than highlighting charitable acts and compromise.
*2. Both liberals and conservatives employ their ‘message machines’ “to mobilize their bases and demonize their opponents.” How have you or your character been affected by these ‘message machines?’
Personal Response: I had a friend who worked for the Obama campaign and slowly recruited a lot of our mutual friends to volunteer. She did this by inviting them to events held on campus that had celebrities and free food to attract people. At the events, the people who attended were informed of Obama’s policies.
*3. Nisbet and Scheufele assert that the polarization of political parties has led the public to despise government. This has ultimately hurt liberals because their objectives involve big government. What is this type of polarization? Do you believe this assertion? Would your character believe differently?
4. Politicians are afraid to go against their party’s agenda for fear of being an outcast. This polarization between parties was evident with the budget crisis. What changes does American society have to make in order for politicians to feel secure in making compromises?