The Effect of Media Coverage On Education
Posted: April 9, 2008
by Jill Anderson
Despite often favoring coverage of the Iraq War or the economy, today’s media remains a powerful voice for the American public on the issue of education. As part of last week’s Askwith Forum, The Media: Driving Education Policy?, Dean Kathleen McCartney invited New York Times columnist Bob Herbert and Boston Globe columnist Derrick Jackson to discuss how the media’s coverage impacts American education today.
“Education is greatly influenced by media, especially columnists,” McCartney said, noting the media’s prominent voice on No Child Left Behind, athletics, and the achievement gap.
Despite more and more people understanding education’s importance in maintaining a middle class lifestyle, Herbert admitted that, in the media today, “education doesn’t get the attention it deserves.” Yet, the columnists noted, the lack of coverage often reflects larger problems in America today: the unwillingness of people to sacrifice to help fund schools and many Americans’ lack of concern regarding the disparities in the lives of others.
“Newspapers wax eloquently about education, but when push comes to shove [in the public’s eyes]…if [funding education] involves raising the taxes, forget about it,” Jackson said.
Calling this one of the “most selfish” periods in America’s history, Jackson explained that even in the time following the 9/11 attacks, many Americans were still living in their large homes, spending money, and globally unaware. The disparities among Americans are still considerably large, which impedes media coverage.
“We get a skewed view of how the country is doing from the politicians and media,” Herbert said. “The U.S. is not doing as well as most Americans think we are doing…. I think we are going backward rather than forward.”
In order to have a 21st century education system, America needs to fund education, but part of the...