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Master's Professional Reports Abstract

Democracy in America? Representation and the Mass Media in the Modern American Political System

Government of the people, by the people, for the people will not perish from the earth.

Just because Abraham Lincoln made these words famous in his Gettysburg Address does not make them true. Though America has been long-and rightly praised-as the land of the free and a beacon of democracy, our proud history does not ensure an equally proud future. Freedom of the press, equality of political representation, and even democracy itself are not characteristics of our system, but goals.

Governance in America has reached a dangerous juncture: representation seems to be failing-giving too much to too few and too little to the rest; at the same time, the means to eliminate representation seem to be within our reach. Evolving communications technologies have inspired a new brand of American revolutionaries to bypass elected representatives who have failed them and mass media which have misled them. They are premature in their diagnosis. This technology is not best used by eliminating representation, or replacing the traditional mass media, but to revive the deliberative function and reverse some of the inequality which has plagued our representative system.

--Author's foreword.