News Coverage of Political Campaigns
and its Negative Affects
Have you ever turned on the TV to watch the news during election year? News programs constantly bombard the public with campaign coverage that negatively affects the way people vote. The most noticeable effect the TV news media causes is a decrease in voter attendance at the ballot boxes. News coverage of political campaigns reduces voter turnout because of the negative campaign tactics used by candidates and their parties; exit polls that predict the outcome of an election; and the public's perception that the media can be bought to influence people to vote for a certain issue or candidate.
Voter turnout has significantly dropped from 75 %-85% in during the 19th century to fewer than 55% in modern day elections as written by Pierce Lewis of American Demographics (Page 20). The result of low voter turnout reveals a broad dissatisfaction and unconcerning attitude towards politics from America's citizens. The main cause for this public attitude in current voting is the news media. What better place is there to display all the events of pre-election activities?
The first and most effective discouragement to voting is exit polls that predict the outcome of an election or in modern terms "electronic forecasting." Exit polling on or before Election Day has become the predominant method used by mass media in American politics for predicting outcomes of elections according to George Bishop and Bonnie Fisher of Public Opinion Quarterly (Page 568). In most recent elections exit polling has grown into an even more complex mass survey medium with institutions such as Voter Research and Surveys (VRS) of New York who provide polling results for massive television networks like ABC, CBS, and CNN. In addition to TV networks, many television affiliates, newspapers, and newsmagazines also use this polled data to inform the public. Since exit polls predict the winners of elections, vast numbers of citizens don't even bother to vote because they already know who's going to win and that their vote wouldn't make a difference (Pages 568-589).
Another reason that causes low voter turnout is news media coverage that broadcast negative campaign tactics politicians and their parties use to attack to opposing candidate or party. According to Laurence I. Barrett of Time magazine, presidential candidates are sliding on their word of not using negative campaign tactics; in fact, negative advertising is becoming trendier among those running for election (Page 28). Negative campaigning in the news media is perceived by most as boxing ring where candidates can put on gloves and knock each others ideas or beliefs down. The most affecting aspect of negative campaign to the public is that candidates and parties only point out the opposing side's flaws to uplift themselves and avoiding the issue at hand which often occurs in debates. Since negative campaigning causes a great deal of arguing between...