I was asked a little while ago if I would be willing to look at drafts of your final exams and offer comments. The answer is that I will try to do that if you can get them to me no later than 8 a.m. on Monday. I can’t promise a lot of feedback, but I’ll do what I can.
Your final-exam questions are below. You will be assessed on the level of detail you offer, the quality of your writing, and your ability to synthesize information into a coherent argument. Misspelled proper names will affect your grade.
Each question can be answered in 100 to 300 words. Please email your finished midterm to me in the form of a Word document no later than Monday at 5 p.m.
1. Recently you all received a copy of Breitbart News’ ebook on President Trump’s first 100 days in office. (If you don’t have it anymore, let me know as soon as possible and I will email it to you.) One of Breitbart’s main themes is its criticism of the mainstream media. Please find a solid example of such criticism in the ebook, explain it and tell us why you agree or disagree.
2. Who did you think was our most effective and interesting guest speaker this semester? Please tell us one important point made by this speaker and explain why it stood out for you.
3. You have now spent the entire semester reading The Washington Post on a daily basis. Imagine that you could write an email to Post owner Jeff Bezos about one thing you would like to see him change. It can be anything, from coverage decisions to the usability of the Post’s digital platforms. What would you tell him?
4. Billionaire businessman and Trump supporter Peter Thiel drove Gawker Media out of business by secretly backing a breach-of-privacy lawsuit brought by the professional wrestler Hulk Hogan. Now imagine that a website has published a video of the president (whether it be Donald Trump or some future president) having sex with someone who would be in a position to blackmail him (or her). Do you think that the website should be legally and constitutionally free to publish such a video? Please draw on the principles we discussed in examining the Hogan case. If you would like to refer to Samuel Warren and Louis Brandeis’ article on privacy, you can do so here.
5. Recently we watched a “Frontline” documentary on Stephen Bannon, a close aide to President Trump both before and after the election. (If you need to watch it again, you will find it here.) What was the most important fact that you learned about Bannon? Does this fact make you glad that he is advising Trump or worried? Why?
On Monday I told you that “60 Minutes” legend Mike Wallace once called me “a son of a bitch.” I went back and checked, and I was giving you #fakenews. He actually called me a “bastard.” Here is what I wrote about Wallace in 2012 following his death at the age of 93.
Not everyone was able to attend today, and I know at least one student could’t find us after we moved to a slightly cooler classroom. So I’m posting links to the videos we watched and discussed today.
- The video accompanying Margaret Sullivan’s column in The Washington Post provides a good overview of Alex Jones’ career.
- CNN’s “Reliable Sources” broadcast a worthwhile debate over whether NBC News did or did not do the right thing in broadcasting Megyn Kelly’s interview with Jones.
- Finally, here is the interview itself.
We opened with a discussion of an NPR story about politically motivated violence. And we closed with an amazing interview with Jay Sekulow, one of President Trump’s lawyers, with Chris Wallace of Fox News.