We may get back to some psychological thinkers to suggest that what really makes us support a person or an opinion, however we may not deny the fact that we only see what is shown to us and not really much beyond that. Gladwell has highlighted a very important issue of Warren Harding effect, the well known person from Ohio who was simply selected in the 1986 elections as he was tall dark and handsome, the media presented him like that and the people elected him however, Gladwell suggests that he lacked the political knowledge which was his core expertise. Hence in this paper we will study the role of media and communication in developing our opinions related to elections and other important social aspects.[ CITATION Gla05 \l 1033 ]
Media and technology have really shown a drastic improvement, and we definitely boast about the various advantages of media as well but is there something that escapes our eyes? Or, we just choose not to get too many choices? These questions are objects of a super debate but its time now to look at the stories like “Spin” from Brian Springer, actually this was one of the well found excerpts from thousand other satellite feeds, where the talks between George.W.Bush, Al Gore and Ross Perot take place with Larry King, the documentary is a compilation to present the views by these three famous men, on one hand where the ex president talked about halcyon, Al Gore seemed concerned about abortions. The only difference here was that the finishing touch that media ideally gives to these types of conversations was missing here and that is what makes it reveal the raw way in which these great candidates deal social issues.
The worst was observed with Ross Perot who received a great bias from the media’s side and during the 1992 elections when all these issues like “Spin” and “UFO” were there, he was even ridiculed to have opposed some personal issue and finally media started working against the recognition that he was slowly getting from the people. The height of discrimination can be understood from the fact the media accused him to take his name back from the presidential elections after getting the supporter’s hopes up and to everyone’s surprise he didn’t even announce his candidacy at that point of time.
“Christopher Columbus introduced two phenomena that revolutionized race relations and transformed the modern world: the taking of land, wealth, and labour from indigenous peoples, leading to their near extermination, and the transatlantic slave trade, which created a racial underclass.” Loewen’s mentions the above in the book ‘Lies my teacher told me’, brings out a very manipulated view, although the book only appears to give a general reference to the historical context, it still highlights the role of Columbus similar to many other Romans who were already there in search of land, wealth and labor, thus making both the idea and the understanding free from revolutionary. We may want to see this in a manner where we can compare it to the way the networks covered the LA Riots and the Columbus Anniversary, once again we saw that we were shown only what was required and not some thing which is ideal for decision making purpose.[ CITATION Loe95 \l 1033 ]
Media and Consumerism
Media too understands the importance of each second that they are broadcasting and they use it to the fullest to express their own opinions and also publish the communications accordingly. Mike Gravel, one of the candidates for presidential elections in 2008 questioned the fact that some of the candidates received more airtime and where handled partially. If we look at the questions posted to all the candidates during the election debate on CNN we will realize that on one hand where Clinton answered nine questions Kucinich, was asked only four questions, does that really mean that he was not that important for the broadcasters? There are incidents that have happened with Media giants like Fox News, who claimed that Ron Paul was an unlikely candidate for the CAPC Straw Poll, and he eventually won, hence it becomes quite important to discuss and see if really we are not repeating the Warren Harding Error again and Again. [ CITATION Gla05 \l 1033 ]
If we analyze the above discussion further we will realize that the gradual interference of media in society and politics has resulted in a consumerist behaviour shown by us for everything. This means that we now go for branding more than the actual advantages embedded in a product. May it be a soft drink or a luxury car, no one can deny the importance of media and fame in choosing the above two, therefore the same effect appears when we see the way media handles communications related to politics as well and the branding works, as the people see and believe only what is shown to them. We may not say that only since 1992 all the elections that happen are really effected by the role of media but yes, looking at the above evidences it is a established fact that we believe what we see, and we are shown what we are expected to believe.
In the 2012 elections Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, Mike Hukabee, Newt Gingrich and Mike Pence are the most talked about and it will be great if all the candidates are given equal opportunities to present their vies so that people can make an unbiased choice for their country. Looking at the above scenarios it is true that media like T.V still remains as a better method of coverage as it allows the candidates to express their views directly, we may not deny that there can be a lot of favouritism here but the other media branches are not better either.
In a nutshell we can say that there are several incidences that have taught us about the biased opinions and partial importance given by media in elections, it is time now to understand that this really impacts in an adverse manner as the viewers make their opinions accordingly and therefore it become too much media driven, leading us to a scenario where the choices made in elections cannot be considered as unbiased and its high time that we change this approach.
Gladwell, Malcom. The Power of Thinking Without Thinking. Boston: Back Bay Books, 2005.
Loewen, James. Lies My Teacher Told Me. Chicago: The New Press, 1995.