College Democrats examine media and the elections

Especially today, the media plays a prominent role in US politics, and never is it more prevalent than during an election year. In order to better understand and engage in conversation on the relationship between the media and politics, the Wheaton College Democrats have been holding events to facilitate discussion on certain dimensions of the issue.

The Wheaton College Democrats describe their goal on The Link as follows: “to support and bring awareness to liberal political views on the Wheaton College campus. We aim to create thoughtful political discussion and active participation in the political process among our members.” The group primarily holds events around issues pertaining to the democratic party and American politics in general. Past events include a screening of the movie “Game Change,” based on the 2008 election and a talk titled “Women in Government” in conjunction with the Feminist Association of Wheaton given by Massachusetts State Representative, Jen Benson. They also engage in activism outside of the Wheaton sphere, including canvassing with Congressman Joe Kennedy for State Senate candidate Mike Brady and for Hillary Clinton last semester.

Their exec board includes President Maya Benson ’18, Vice President Olivia Milne ‘18, Secretary Mary Sasso ‘18, Treasurer Graham Johnson ‘18 and Member-at-Large Alex Gim-Fain ‘17. Last semester, they became an official chartered chapter of The College Democrats of Massachusetts, the official youth outreach wing of the Massachusetts Democratic Party that aims to get students civically engaged in advocating for policies and legislation that are beneficial to them. Other colleges with chartered chapters include Stonehill, Boston University, Amherst College, UMASS Boston and others.

The first event on politics and the media was a talk about political satire with Sarah Hilton ‘16. This occurred April 14, coinciding with a prospective students overnight. At this event, attendees learned about the role that satirical TV shows, such as Saturday Night Live, and late night talk shows and publications, such as The Onion, play in politics.

The most recent event occurred on April 21 and was entitled “How Does the Role of the Media Affect the 2016 Election?” This was a talk given by the Wheaton College Democrats’ advisor, political science Professor Bradford Bishop, on how the media and its decisions on what to cover and how to cover it is affecting the current election.