Abstract 7, Volume 10, Number 2, Summer 2015

Media Literacy: Analyzing Political Commercials

Lance E. Mason

Indiana University Kokomo


The National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) has called for the development of a media literacy framework that goes beyond content analysis into investigating media forms. The M.I.T.S. framework, which stands for main ideas, images, text, and sounds, is inspired by the conceptual work of Marshall McLuhan (1964) and other media ecologists, who recognize screen media tends to generate different sensory responses from audiences when compared to print. The framework encourages students to carefully analyze the various aspects of screen media by isolating each dimension and examining it separately. The goal of the analysis is to foster students’ awareness of how screen technology may evoke unique responses compared to print by playing upon different sensory perceptions. Ultimately, this can facilitate students taking a more critical perspective toward screen media and the various persuasive devices they regularly encounter. Recent political commercials are used to introduce the framework. Extensions and other practical concerns for implementation are also discussed.

Keywords: media literacy, citizenship, social studies, technology, politics, elections

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