Obstacles to the Development of Media Literacy Education in the United States
This article appeared originally in the Journal of Communication, vol 48, #1, Winter, 1998, p. 58-69. Posted with permission of the author.
This article examines the political, economic, historic, and cultural explanations for why the United States lags behind other major English-speaking countries in the formal delivery of media education. The research relies on formal documents and newsletters, interviews with leading media education researchers and teachers from numerous nations, and site visits to five countries. Among the many factors explored are the sheer physical size of the U.S., its highly heterogeneous population, resistance to the federal government's making central educational or broadcasting policy, the fact that the U.S. exports far more media products than it imports, and a long-standing reluctance to take the popular arts seriously.
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