Nichols: Most professionals of all kinds, and quite noticeably in the media—TV and print journalists, for example— deride academics as out of touch, like McCain. We don’t get it. Other countries see a linkage between formal studies and public life. Scholars don't even provide sound bites as often as in the past; NPR, for example, turns to the Wall Street Journal, or a think tank, where talking heads are ready with their bite size thoughts. Other countries value intellectual engagement and serious debate; we elect George Bush.
Miller: I don't know what you mean by ‘political movement,’ but assuming this refers to campaigns for political change related to the media: the several-million-strong media-reform movement in the United States is intimately linked to a small fraction of the academy in political economy and political communication. Most of media studies has made no contribution and shown no interest. In terms of media union action, most of media studies remains ignorant and unconcerned. When it comes to movements about representation, such as the textualization of gender, race, class, and religion, those scholars who undertake content analysis have been able to make an impact, but single-text analysis has not been relevant in any way I can discern.
Tryon: There are a number of individual scholars, collectives, and in some cases, institutions, that have intervened in certain political policies. Scholars such as Patricia Aufderheide and Larry Lessig have done important work in promoting better standards for the fair use of copyrighted material both in the classroom and in creative texts such as documentary films and web videos, a “political” issue that was picked up by the Society for Cinema and Media Studies, which issued a Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use. On the whole, however, I would imagine that it is relatively easy to overstate the influence of scholarship on politics.