Elections and Media Essay
Elections and Media
The most influential part of American society is the media. Because of it, people have been witness to numerous historical events such as inaugurations, assassinations, and acts of terrorism. We would not have been informed if it had not been for the excessive coverage from the television; however, at the same time, the television has been a continuous barrier within the political world because it emphasizes materialistic items and meaningless ideas rather than the important tasks at hand that can affect an entire nation.
The media has an arguable hold on the politics of this nation. As told in Source C, by Menand, many attribute Kennedy’s victory in the close election of 1960 to the presentation he made in two televised debates in the final months of his campaign; however, the people who listened to the debates on the radio, and did not see televised images, believed it was a draw between Nixon and Kennedy. The majority who watched the debates on the television thought that Kennedy had a “crisper” image than the badly postured Nixon.
This evidence supports the fact that the television makes the voters focus on the image of the candidate rather than ideals and their intellectual responses to the questions at hand. In the 1960 election, the television had won the nation away from sound to images. It is not fair to other candidates because the other candidates could be better off running the country than a person who was won over by materialistic views. Television may make a candidate appear one way, but when they are in office they become two-faced, thus promoting the fact that more and more candidates are pursuing images more than issues.
An example of this can bee seen in Source B, by Hart and Triece, where it states that Bill Clinton showed his boxers on MTV because he believed that was what the audience was looking for in order to support him as president. The media, mainly television, has the ability to control the way a nation can think as well as the way a nation can vote. Television is like any other form of entertainment. It has the job of telling the citizens what they want to hear, rather than being honest and telling the truth.
That is why there is not one single news broadcasting station that will voice both liberal and conservative views. As told by Ted Koppel in Source F, networks influence the nation by cropping and pulling out the best parts of events in the presidential election that make their political party stand out from the rest. This is a reason why so many elections are full of slandering because each broadcast network tries to dig up information from the past or present to use against a candidate.
For instance, during George Bush’s election in 2000, the press dug up information about his daughters at college and their partying ways. This was a way to try and sabotage his chances of presidency, and it almost worked. The nation started to view him as an unworthy candidate, but that information had no relevance on his ability to be president. Fortunately it did not affect Bush winning the election, although it is still being seen today. The media continuously shoots down the major issues at hand and puts the focus on non-important ideas.
Television has a way of being intimate with people and making them feel like they are getting valuable information, but what they do not know is that they are not getting the facts and information from direct sources, furthering the question of who can the American people trust to get accurate information. The inaccurate information can be the deciding factor between who a new voter will vote for, which in return can affect the outcome of an election or presidential term. A prime example of this can be seen in Source E, by Ranney.
In this article, it states that President Lyndon Johnson was supporting the fact that the war in Vietnam could and would be won. At that time the nation believed him; however, when the news network took it upon them to see if Johnson was true to his word, they came back with the reciprocal of what Johnson stated. CBS news network reported that Vietnam was a bloody scene and there was no military victory in the future. Can you guess who the public believed? Of course the media! Basically in a single second, all of the citizens contradicted their previous beliefs, based by Johnson, and supported the facts brought in by CBS.
This further upholds the idea that television and other forms of entertainment have stolen the idea of self thought and independent opinions. It somewhat contradicts freedom of speech and belief because what we are hearing is what the media itself picked out, rather than our own intelligence. Unfortunately due to this hold the television has over us, Johnson was overwhelmingly fought against, and he decided to end the army and navy bombardment in Vietnam, as well as not run for another term. The media had beaten him, and there was no way to stop it.
In conclusion, all sources of entertainment, such as television, have altered the ways Americans think and view politics. The television has a power over the people by showing the bad sides of each candidate in an election rather than what good they have done for our society. By focusing on the negativity and worthless aspects of politics, television can be considered a prominent problem against politics in the United States. Once the nation wants to decide to support self-opinions, there will never be a presidential election or event that will not be decided by television.
University/College: University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 21 August 2017
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