This Article interrogates the traditional role and effect of professionals and professionalism in America’s media and civic discourse landscape by revisiting “network news” history through the lens of Ivan Illich’s deschooling theory. The Author offers the professionalization of political discourse on broadcast television as evidence that institutions inevitably foster a discourse of dependence and perpetuation of existing hierarchies. The Author contends that media law reified this professionalization through early interpretations of the bona fide newscast and news interview exemptions to the equal time rule, which aided in fostering a “thin citizenship.” According to the Author, such political news and discourse is essential to the maintenance of America’s self-governing democrary, but cautions that Illich’s belief that the Epimethean Man’s natural inquisitiveness will translate into a desire for and production of civic knowledge and political discourse is idealistic. The Author finds Illich’s deschooling theory worthy of continued consideration for those who push for a wider and more participatory civic engagement.
Akilah N. Folami, DESCHOOLING THE NEWS MEDIA—DEMOCRATIZING CIVIC DISCOURSE, 34 W. New Eng. L. Rev. 489 (2012), https://digitalcommons.law.wne.edu/lawreview/vol34/iss2/8