Watching TV News: Should We Approach It Like Reality TV?

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Title

Handbook of Research on Advancing Critical Thinking in Higher Education


This chapter focuses on the shortcomings of learning about complex policy issues from television news. The chapter uses the Vanderbilt University Television News Archive website to examine issues raised and not raised by television news, as well as the duration of time spent on issues by news shows. Examining the limitations of television news' ability to present and address complex public policy issues serves as a means to focus on critical thinking in the higher education setting. Two public policy issues are explored in this chapter, Constitutional interpretation and the Affordable Care Act, sometimes referred to as ObamaCare, as the means to show how limited television news is regarding presenting the often frustrating aspects of complex policy issues. Several methods used by the author to help students apply critical thinking skills are discussed. The results of these methods are also addressed.



Publication Date