As I conduct my content analysis of media literacy definitions, I think I’ll start with Richard Lanham. In The Electronic Word, he points to rhetoric as the appropriate field of study in this era of the network: “This revival of our traditional paideia includes those parts of contemporary literary criticism and cultural studies which have rediscovered that all arguments are constructed with a purpose, to serve an interest–a rediscovery symbolized by Terry Eagleton’s reflection, at the end of his literary-theory survey, that we might as well call the whole subject ‘Rhetoric.'”

Indeed, media cynics would say that the Scholastic materials about 9/11 referenced in the last post were created as a marketing tool. If teachers knew they had nicely packaged, already developed materials to use, they might be more tempted to integrate a television show that they otherwise would probably ignore. One teacher, interviewed for the Education Week article, said she would never use a docudrama like that in her classroom. I wonder if all teachers would make that decision, or if, as a part of the 5th anniversary, they would see the television show, along with the materials, as a good way to incorporate the event in their classrooms. The materials evidently gave credit to ABC and encouraged users to watch the mini-series.


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