[9/17/18] – Economics and Media Pt. 2: Geopolitical Economics

In the 4th week, we observed that mass media’s relationships to economics could hardly be summed up by a single glance. This week revisits the media/economics relationship, and here we hone in on one topic—the economic features of global politics. This honing zooms in on a particular ongoing event— the current trade war between the U.S. and China, but it also zooms out—challenging you to think about the broader media themes involved in the relationships between nations. We recommend you begin by viewing the videos, as they provide some backdrop and context for global politics, economics, media, and the fourth estate’s web of connections.

Instructors, click on the link below to download this week’s lecture for use in your classroom. The deck contains a writing prompt, a debate question, as well as other assessment questions.

Download the PowerPoint Lecture Spark for Economics and Media, Part 2


CBC News | U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to impose billions in tariffs on China has already sent stocks tumbling, but his plan is stoking fears of a trade war between the economic giants.

With the onset of Trump’s trade war, diplomatic relations between the U.S. and China—the world’s largest and second-largest economies, respectively—have reached a crisis point.

Here, the Center for Strategic and International Studies explores the relationship between the “fourth estate” (the news media/the press) and geopolitics. How does the media influence the narrative of world affairs?

From their website: “For the past seven years consecutively, CSIS has been named the world’s number one think tank for international security by the University of Pennsylvania’s ‘Go To Think Tank Index.’”

Here, in this link posted by the International Monetary Fund, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences’ Institute of World Economics and Politics meets in Beijing, with both Chinese and Western scholars discussing geopolitics, economics, and their relationships to Trump and social media. This is a fascinating glimpse into the pre-trade war views of global scholars. This link offers a full transcript of the talk, which allows for a quick glance.



  • Writing: A great deal of the media content we consume is still produced by media companies and most of the mass media in the United States and other Western democracies are for-profit businesses. Like all businesses, they are influenced by issues such as profitability. Trump’s tariffs have caused concern for newsprint before. Explore whether or not you believe the news sources of the U.S. are affected by the growing trade war with China, and more importantly, discuss how (or not) you believe this could affect their portrayal of the issue. Consider that much of the news media’s money comes through advertisers, and some companies make cuts in anticipation of tariffs.
  • Debate: Should news media sources be obligated to disclose their affiliations, financial or otherwise? If so, what would this disclosure look like?
  • Poll: Which country do you believe poses the greatest economic challenge to the U.S.?
    • China
    • India
    • Russia
    • Germany
    • The UK
    • Brazil
    • France
  • Short Answer: Do you think the U.S./China trade war affects you?


Current Events Quiz

President Trump is imposing further tariffs on goods from ___.

  • China
  • Brazil
  • Trump Enterprises.
  • India

The new tariffs will apply to how many products?

  • Over 3000
  • Just the ones from India
  • Over 1000
  • 12 or so

A Harvard professor recently argued we must not overemphasize the effect of who/what on the ongoing trade war?

  • President Xi Jinping
  • President Trump
  • Chancellor Merkel
  • Former President Obama

China can fight the trade war by ____?

  • Exporting Xi Jinping
  • Receiving guava imports from Chile
  • Turning to Russia for new paper product partnerships
  • Tightening industry policy on American goods

Many American companies are ____ by the escalation of the trade war.

  • Ambivalent
  • Pleased
  • Hurt
  • Benefited

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