Blog PhotoDr. John F. Kirch is an assistant professor of journalism and new media at Towson University. He teaches courses in journalism history, news writing, news reporting, media theory and media literacy. He also writes a blog called Media Politics in Perspective in which he analyzes the intersection of politics and the media. Before getting his PhD in Journalism and Public Communication from the University of Maryland in 2008, Dr. Kirch worked as a newspaper reporter and magazine editor for 16 years. He has covered a wide-range of issues, including gubernatorial and congressional campaigns, business profiles, spot news such as murders and fires, education, the environment, and national and industrial security issues. His main research interests are media history as well as political campaigns. His dissertation, On the Fringe: Third-Party Gubernatorial Candidates and the Press, is a two-part study that examines (1) how minor-party political candidates are covered by the mainstream media when they do receive coverage, and (2) why reporters tend to ignore political contenders who do not come from the Democratic or Republican parties. The study concludes that American journalists have accepted the hegemony of the two-party system without question and have, in many ways, been co-opted by the Democrats and Republicans. Rather than encouraging free flowing debate during an election campaign, the news media act as barriers to American political discourse, excluding marginalized voices from the discussion and failing to challenge the dominate narratives established by political elites.