Fordham University            The Jesuit University of New York
 


present

MONEY, MEDIA AND THE BATTLE FOR DEMOCRACY'S SOUL
An Interdisciplinary Conference

Tuesday, 24 April 2012
8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
McNally Amphitheatre | Lincoln Center Campus
140 West 62nd Street, New York, NY 10023   (map)
 
Current national debates have focused on the growing political influence of money and mass media in the electoral arena and its implications for public trust, integrity and the democratic values of an informed, active, and unduly influenced citizenry. 

With the backdrop of the 2012 elections, this conference featured a distinguished multidisciplinary group of legal scholars, policymakers, political leaders, and journalists to address important topics of public dialogue including:
  • The influences of money on elections and political agendas
  • The media's role in the increasing polarization of the voting public and
  • Transparency, accountability, and accuracy of traditional and "new" mass news media technologies, such as blogging
View:

♦  Full video coverage of the conference proceedings

♦  Media coverage of the conference

♦  Full conference agenda


Video Proceedings                                                                                                       

Video 1
  • Welcome:  Nancy Bush, Dean of Graduate School of Arts and Sciences; Adam Fried, Assistant Director of the Center for Ethics Education.
  • Panel 1:  Beth Knobel, Jonathan Capehart, and Peter Steinfels discuss Media Influences on the Voting Public, which explores the media's role in the political process and, in particular, ways in which today's political media personalities influence voting decisions.
Video 2
  • Panel 2: Michael Malbin and Russ Feingold discuss The Influence of Money on Elections and Political Agendas, which explores campaign finance issues in contemporary national and local elections, including implications surrounding the recent Citizen's United case. Moderated by Costas Panagopoulos, Center for Electoral Politics and Democracy. 
Video 3
  • Introduction: John Harrington, Dean of Faculty of Arts and Sciences .
  • Key Note Address: Chuck Todd discusses Media Coverage and Election 2012: Navigating the New Political Landscape. In this talk, Mr. Todd explores conference themes related to the evolvoing role and influence of media on voting decisions through analysis of the news media's coverage of current elections.
Video 4
  • Panel 3:   Richard Davis, David Mark, and Vincent Harris discuss The New(s) Media: Accountability, Accuracy and Transparency, which focuses on new technologies (such as blogging, Twitter, and Facebook) used by news outlets and politicians to reach voters, and the benefits and risks these technologies hold in terms of promoting and informed, active, and unduly influenced citizenry.  Moderated by Zephyr Teachout, Fordham University School of Law
  • Panel 4:  Discussion among all panelists with audience questions,moderated by Costas Panagopoulos.
 

Media Coverage                                                                                                           
Fordham ENewsroom, "Feingold Blasts Citizen's United Case"
 


CONFERENCE AGENDA

 9:00 A.M. WELCOME AND CONFERENCE OVERVIEW
   
NANCY BUSCH
Dean, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and Chief Research Officer, Fordham University
 
 9:15 a.m. PANEL 1: MEDIA INFLUENCES ON THE VOTING PUBLIC
This panel will explore the media's role in the political process and, in particular, ways in which today's political media personalities influence voting decisions.  
 
Assistant Professor of Communication and Media Studies, Fordham University,
Former Moscow Chief, CBS News
 
"The Fourth Branch ofGovernment: Yesterday and Today"
 
Professor Knobel will discuss how the news media affects politics in the broadcast era, and how it has become an important player in the political process. In particular, she will explain how the media have changed from an institution that "tells Americans what to think about" to one that "tells Americans what to think,", due to opinon-dominated cable news networks, talk radio, and social media.
 
JONATHAN CAPEHART
Opinion Writer, The Washington Post
Contributor, msnbc
 
 "Fit to Print? Covering Politics in an Era of Polarization and the 24-Hour News Cycle"
 
In this talk, Mr. Capehart will draw on his vast experience as a newspaper columnist and a frequent cable news contributor to discuss emerging issues related to the news media's coverage of current and recent elections.
 
 10:30 a.m. PANEL 2:  THE INFLUENCE OF MONEY ON ELECTIONS AND POLITICAL AGENDAS
 This panel will explore campaign finance issues in contemporary national and local elections, including implications of the recent Citizens United case.
 
MICHAEL MALBIN
Professor of Political Science, University at Albany, State University of New York.
Director, Campaign Finance Institute
 
 "Small Donor Matching Funds: Changing the Game by Expanding the Playing Field"
 
Governor Andrew Cuomo has proposed that New York State adopt a system of smaller donor matching funds for state elections that would be simlar to New York City's.  Research by the Campaign Finance Institute shows that the city's system has had a substantial and beneficial effect on participation and would have similarly positive effects elsewhere.  It's a powerful response to the role of big money in politics, fully consistent with Citizens United and other decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court.
 ______________________
RUSS FEINGOLD
Mimi and Peter Haas Distinguished Visitor, Stanford University
Founder, Progressives United
Former United States Senator (D-WI)
 
"Corporate Power in Politics and the Economy: What the Citizens United Decision Means for our Democracy"
 
Senator Feingold will provide a background on campaign finance issues in current elections and, in this talk, will pull back the curtain on the culture of corporate money that has taken over our system since the U.S. Supreme Court's lawless Citizens United decision rolling back settled law on corporate spending in federal elections.
 
11:30 a.m. BOOK SIGNING AND LUNCH
 
1:00 p.m. KEYNOTE ADDRESS
   
CHUCK TODD
NBC News Chief White House Correspondent
NBC News Political Director
Host of MSNBC's The Daily Rundown
 
"Media Coverage and Election 2012: Navigating the New Political Landscape"
 
In this talk, Mr. Todd will explore conference themes related to the evolvoing role and influence of media on voting decisions through analysis of the news media's coverage of current elections.
 
Moderator: Celia B. Fisher, Marie Ward Doty University Chair and Professor Psychology; Director, Center for Ethics Education, Fordham University
 
2:00 p.m. PANEL 3:  THE NEW(S) MEDIA: ACCOUNTABILITY, ACCURACY AND TRANSPARENCY
This panel will focus on new technologies (such as blogging, twitter, and Facebook) used by news outlets and politicians to reach voters, and the benefits and risks these technologies hold in terms of promting an informed, active, and unduly influenced citzenry.
 
Moderator:  Zephyr Teachout, Associate Professor of Law, Fordham University
 
RICHARD DAVIS
Professor of Political Science, Brigham Young University
 
"New Media's Impact on American Elections"
 
The new media (blogs, social media, Youtube, etc.) have become staples of American elections. Not only are various electoral players (candidates, journalists, groups, etc.) using new media, but those new media are, in turn, affecting how campaigns are conducting and how voters are gaining information for voting decisions.
  ______________________
DAVID MARK
Senior Editor, POLITICO
 
"Erasing the Talking Points"
 
After a presidential debate, likely voters no longer need to wait for a 1,200 word, next-day newspaper analysis from the New York Times or Washington Post filled with "he said, she said" talking points from each sides' campaign spinners.  In the Twitter age, viewers can follow running commentary in real time - and offer their own takes.  It's all part of the increasing democratization and openness in politics spawned by Twitter, Facebook, blogging, and other forms of the new media. And voters are the big winners as they have more access to campaign analysts and their own peers, and are much less in need of campaign talking points. Yet for every effort by interested citizens to avoid the spin, campaigns haven't given up on influencing votes. The same social media tools allow political operatives to tailor their messages through intensely-focused microtargeting strategies unthinkable in the campaign world even a few years ago.
  ______________________
VINCENT R. HARRIS
CEO , Harris Media
Digital Consultant, Newt Gingrich 2012
 
"The Role of New Media in Presidential Campaigns"
 
 
 
3:15 p.m. CONTINUING THE CONVERSATION: A DIALOGUE WITH ALL SPEAKERS
This final panel will feature all speakres and include audience questions and comments.
 
Moderator:  Costas Panagopoulos, Associate Professor of Political Science, Fordham University; Director, Center on Electoral Politics and Democracy
 
4:15p.m. RECEPTION



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