Bachelor of Arts
Humanities and Cultural Studies
Department or Program Chair
Chase B. Clow, PhD
Bradley Van Alstyne, MA
From the moment our First Amendment was adopted, America’s ideal of democracy has been firmly intertwined with media communications between the President and the citizenry. Over time, technological advancements have altered the way this communication is facilitated, increasing the public’s access to the Office of the Presidency, and visa versa, via new forms of media. Through an examination of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s use of the radio, the first televised debate between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon in 1960, and Barack Obama’s use of Social Media and the Internet, this thesis will seek to answer the question of whether the greater access gained from new communication mediums has enhanced American democracy. While any increase in dialogue between the Office of the President and citizens undoubtedly brings us closer to our democratic ideals, it will likewise be demonstrated that each new form of media has been uniquely suited to increase transparency into the political process in ways relevant to the era in which politicians adopted them.
Cermak, Elizabeth Brand, "Approaching Ideals through Innovation: Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Mass Media Technology and American Democracy" (2015). Senior Theses. 32.
American Politics Commons, Broadcast and Video Studies Commons, Communication Technology and New Media Commons, Journalism Studies Commons, Mass Communication Commons, Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration Commons, Public Relations and Advertising Commons, Social Influence and Political Communication Commons, Social Media Commons