All I Know Is What I Read In The Papers Will Rogers

1664 words - 7 pages

"All I Know Is What I Read In The Papers" - Will Rogers

     There have been many criteria over the past few centuries that measured
one's political clout and influence: divine right, property, money, and
acquaintances. In the twentieth century, particularly the past two decades, the
political power to influence others resides in information: the more information
you have and the more you know how to use it, the more potential influence you
have.
     People rely on the media for their information, as it is the most easily
accessible, efficient, and passive way of acquiring knowledge. Unfortunately,
the media is not completely reliable as it can and has been manipulated by
politicians, their parties, and their governments. This makes the media a
powerful weapon as politicians use it to effect voters political choices through
advertising, change popular opinion on issues of state, and debasing political
campaigns through smear tactics.

"You can make a candidate someone they aren't. You can protect them
from someone they are, or make them more of what they are".-Senator Norm
Atkins(1)

"An election is like a one day sale…the product (candidate) in a sale
(campaign) is only available a few hours on one day".(2)

     The main goal one hopes to achieve by advertising something is to make
it marketable so people will purchase it. Since what a politician hopes to
ultimately do is persuade people to vote for, or buy, their political platform,
they would be foolish to not take advantage of the captive and passive audience
of the advertising mass media. Unfortunately politicians and their management
take advantage of this medium to manipulate voters' choices. Two cases of
advertising manipulation on voters was during the Canadian National Referendum
of 1992 and the Quebec Referendum of 1995. During the National Referendum of
1992 over the Charlottetown Accord "three hours of free broadcast time was made
available during prime time on every radio and television network that met the
statutory criteria"(3) according to the Referendum Act. The act also states
that "half (of the time) is allocated to the ‘Yes' and half to the ‘No' side"(4).
This allotment of advertising time did not take into account the print
advertisement that was plastered all over the daily and weekly news periodicals
calling for people to vote for their side. In the Toronto Star all the month
of October the "Yes" campaign, fronted by Brian Mulroney, took out ads that had
powerful bylines printed in bold type like this one of October 17: "Vote Yes
for Canada's Future"(5). This statement is an attempt to manipulate not only
the voter who will take the time to read the reasons in smaller print, but also
the voter who only glances through the paper as their attention is caught, even
if it is only for a second, to the bold type and the powerful...

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