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Mass Media Coverage Of Presidential Election

1334 words - 5 pages

     Mass media coverage of the U.S. presidential election involves two
key elements- news reporting and paid advertising. Combined they make the
media an important and influential factor in the election process. The media
depends upon the campaigns for both news and revenues. The candidates
then rely upon the media to get in touch with the largest number of voters
          The Media has a “ very powerful and justifiable role”
(Fullerton-1) to play in presidential elections and can actually dictate a
campaign agenda. “It is the media’s job to sort of be the watchdog
(Fullerton-1).” Their job is basically to ferret out the truth and sniff out the
     To view the media as one large entity is misleading. It’s actually a huge
community that includes mainstream media which is the major newspapers
and major television networks. Then there is the alternative media, talk radio
and tabloid shows which play up the most sensational in politics     
     The majority of Americans get their political information from the
media, the most of which comes from television. Campaign events are
covered on the nightly news, and the candidates themselves appear on news
interview programs as well as daytime talk shows. At the state and local level
of campaigns, candidates usually provide time for interviews with area
journalists and the coverage is usually very positive towards their respective
     The media itself, however, “tends to accentuate on the negative aspects
of a political campaign, to hit hardest at those who are in power or running
ahead, and to emphasize scandal.” (Gorin-1). The candidates counter this,
and attempt to use the media to their advantage by carefully staging media
events. “These usually take place at national monuments or flag factories with
balloons and banners in the background to set a real upbeat atmosphere. The
speeches made are carefully worded to emphasize making an impact on the
news program” (Gorin-1).
     There was a dramatic rise of daytime talk shows as a political venue,
with independent candidate Ross Perot starting the phenomenon back in 1992
with an appearance on the Larry King Live show. During the taping, Perot
basically spelled out the circumstances under which he would consider
running for presidency. “Such shows really impact the viewing audience due
to the voters chance at speaking directly to the candidate and expressing their
own views.” (Gorin-1)
     The presidential debates are probably the most important media events
covered in a campaign because voters can see how candidates react in
stressful situations and can read numerous articles analyzing the debate after
they occur. The debates basically allow the candidates to go head...

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