American political system

American political system

Paper instructions:
The purpose of this assignment is two-fold.  First, you will learn about a topic related to the American political system.  Secondly, you will learn to be a critical reader/listener.  To complete this assignment, you must find TWO media sources that have VERY different political perspectives. Then you will choose ONE topic from the list below and use the two media sources to “inform” you about this topic.  You should NOT include your own prior knowledge of this topic OR your own political beliefs regarding this topic in your written assignment.


This written assignment must be typed and saved as a Word document (.doc or .docx).  It should be a minimum of 3 pages but no longer than 7 pages, double-spaced, one inch margins, 12 pt. font.  No Cover Page is necessary, but parenthetical in-text citation and a Works Cited page (MLA format) are  required. (Use the Purdue Owl website to avoid plagiarism: .)  This assignment will be submitted as a file attachment in our class through SafeAssign and then copied/pasted into our Discussion Board, where students will discuss and debate issues with their fellow students.  This assignment must be submitted on time for credit.  Check the Course Information for the due date and Late Policy.


All media is biased; these biases are even more profound when media sources take on a very specific political perspective.  Most Americans choose only media sources that match their own political perspective.  This creates what many call “the echo chamber.”  For this assignment, you must choose two media sources with very different perspectives.  There are several political perspectives; the two most common are conservative and liberal.  It is up to you to figure out the political perspective of the sources you are considering.  Two obviously different media sources are FOX news and MSNBC.  If you have difficulty finding your own two media sources, you may use these for your assignment.  Here’s a link to help get you started:

There are several formats from which to choose your sources, these include print (newspaper, magazine), radio, television and the internet.  You may choose your sources from any combination of these formats (i.e. two internet sources OR one television source and one internet source).


You must choose one topic from the list below.  You will then search your two media sources for this topic.  You may need to further narrow your topic so that the media sources are both discussing an important element of the topic (i.e Gun Control might be narrowed down to background checks for gun licenses).  These topics are current, so be sure to find recent information presented by your two media sources (within the last six months).

1.  Gun Control

2.  Affordable Healthcare Act (aka Obamacare)

3.  NSA Surveillance

4.  Pre-emptive Strike (and/or Drone Strikes)

5.  Same-sex marriage

6.  The National Budget

7.  Iran’s Nuclear Program

8.  Legalization of Marijuana

9.  Government Gridlock

10.  Economic Rebound


Your assignment should begin with an introduction that states your topic and media choices.  This introduction should be clear and concise, but no longer than 1 paragraph.

The main focus of this assignment is to critically analyze, by comparing and contrasting, how your two media sources relayed the information to you.  Two general areas include bias and use of complete information. You should use this site to help explain main areas of comparison When looking for specific points to analyze, look for both verbal and non-verbal clues.  Look at the visuals, the headlines, catchy or loaded words/phrases, placement of article, whether each side (or various sides) are discussed, look at the length devoted to each side.  Look to see if names, events, places, organizations, etc.  are explained in depth (i.e. is there enough background information to understand the topic).  You may also consider any other point which compares/contrasts your two media sources.  You should have a MINIMUM of 5 points to analyze.  Be sure to use specific examples from your media sources to support your points of analysis.  You are not to use any additional sources for this portion of your paper.

Lastly, summarize your findings by discussing whether or not the reader/listener could make a rational decision after reading/listening to both of these articles/broadcasts.  In this final summary, you may use outside sources to help “fact check” your sources.


-Do not write in the first person (I, me, my, we, us) as it diminishes from the objectivity of this analysis.

– Do not provide a long analysis of the actual topic; the focus is on analyzing the media.

-Do not simply summarize the articles/broadcasts.  Remember, the main focus is to critically analyze the sources.

– Do not bring in your own personal opinion.  You must remain as objective as possible.

-Re-read or re-listen to the articles/broadcasts/websites.  Look for even the most subtle factors that might


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