Thursday, August 26, 2010

The effects of the television on politicians

Dan F. Hahn (Political Communication, Strata Publishing Co., State College, PA, 2003, p. 257) suggests some ways in which the media affect politicians and the election process.
1. The cost of advertising means that politicians must spend much of their time fund raising. It obligates them later to major campaign contributors.
2. Television shows the intra-party squabbles during the primary process. It makes it difficult to get all party members onside when beginning the campaign against the opposition.
3. The focus on personal lives (which began in the 1960s) keeps many potential candidates from running and puts stress on the candidates and their families.
4. Politicians structure their campaigns to attract television coverage. For example, they learn to deliver messages in 10-second sound bites.
5. Television doesn't allow the politician to be reflective on-air. Rather candidates appear "glib" and absolute rather than moderate in their viewpoints.
6. Candidates must appear to be humorous, making it mandatory to appear on late-night shows, like Saturday Night Live, Jay Leno, or Letterman.

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