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Present American campaigns and elections depend highly on political advertising through the media. In the recent past, there have not been campaigns and elections without political ads on television. Political ads are now a main tool and vehicle in elections.
This does not however mean that all political campaigns have to use media. This means that media is a tool with which political advertising is very effective and reaches many people (Schultz, 2004).
The main role of media is to give information and entertainment. However, media has an effect on different institutions including cultural, political, and even social institutions. Moreover, the media companies receive a big percent of their income from advertising (Biagi, 2011).
Riaz, 2010 adds that one of the significant branches of Journalism and Mass Communication is political communication. Political communication entails the use of media by political parties and even governments to get support from the public especially during election times or any time they require public support.
It is easy for government to provide the required information to the public using the internet and new media. Citizens receive the information the government want to convey while they also air their grievances and concerns to the government. Consequently, the media will always be part of any society since it will challenge and even aggravate.
Although media can invite, manipulate, and irritate, it cannot work dependently. Media is sparklingly attractive; its style is captivating and its power frightening. Therefore, only a few people can pride of being able to resist its distractions and charm (Behnke, 2010).
In the modern world, the society is moving on the tips of the fingers since it is the era of web. There has been a drastic change in the society today since introduction of the new media technologies. Moreover, the new technologies have not spared the old print and electronic media. The development of new technologies is present in both developed and developing countries.
In addition, the evolution of technology has effects on the political communication. There is a rampant use of internet and mobile phones in the election campaigns. This means that media effects political behavior both in developing and developed countries (Riaz, 2010).
Media and political communication
Politics main purpose is to change people’s minds and change it completely. In the political system, the only channel to reaching citizens is through the media especially internet and television.
Media is an articulated system, which, the original information comes from print media before television circulates to the majority of the audience and the radio modifies the communication. Therefore, without media there is no politics. The political systems mainly use the media to popularize themselves and get support from the citizens (Castells, 2007).
Political communication ensures that the media those covers easily those in power and put their messages across. On the other hand, the media is more interested in the elites. Presently, if a candidate does not receive coverage by most media houses then his political policies will be less popular.
This means that the candidates featured easily in the media remain the most popular politicians (Wolfsfeld, 2011). According to Hermanns 2008, the use of mobile phones is slowly gaining popularity since it occurs as a wider context of democracy by building of networks.
Media and democracy
Democracy is a common phrase in the modern world. However, democracy is only possible in a society that has freedom of discussion and information. Therefore, free media is a crucial part of the democratic society. In this context, media provides a platform for open discussions while organizing political debates. New media technologies thrive in such atmosphere where there is democracy and participation (Riaz, 2010).
However, new does not have a major impact on the national politics compared with traditional media. The use of internet as a form of democracy is contradictory in many nations. The first way to feel the effect of media is through cultural diversity before coming to election. In this case, democracy in most societies refers to a culture of citizenship or specific structure of governance (Thorburn, 2004).
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Influence of media on campaigns and elections
Politicians and their political campaigners have extensively used media to campaign for elections. In addition to this, they have used media to sell their agenda to the wider public. In some instances, politicians use the media platform to measure up with each other during campaigns. In this case, the politicians engage in fierce debates especially in national televisions.
Here, they get a chance of selling their ideas and convincing the voters that they are the preferred candidates as opposed to their rivals. In addition, the interviewers put them to task in explaining their positions and opinions in certain critical issues affecting the wider public. In essence, such questions help the voters to gauge the candidates and make wise decisions (Schultz, 2004).
Swanson & Mancini, 1996 adds that politicians consider the periods of election campaigns as the most important periods of their career. In addition, the voters value this period because it helps in selection of good leaders and gauge the politicians against important national issues.
The media, especially social media and televisions provide a good platform where the public and politicians realize these issues. It is only through the media that politicians can engage in healthy national debates and give the voters a chance to ask them questions.
The media is also a very powerful tool in shaping and determining the progress of political contest. Each politician wants to reach as many voters as he can for assurance of winning. Since such politicians may not have the resources and time to tour all the parts of his country or region, they use media to reach many people. Most politicians make every effort to ensure that their campaign messages pass through most of the media houses.
This is because not all people watch particular media house, but each has a preference. As a result, a single politician may reach thousands or millions of voters through advertising on media.
In some instances, most of the politicians vying for various posts are not popular among the voters. However, when such politicians advertise through media, it may be surprising how they may get an overwhelming support from the public (Wolfsfeld, 2011).
Use of social media for political advertising completely changes political cultures of some regions and countries. Various researches indicate that over fifty percent of voters in many countries use the internet to gauge political candidates. It is also in the social media where many voters influence each other on the direction to vote. In this sense, voters may mobilize other voters to vote for a certain candidate.
Other researches indicate that the media, especially social media influence the voting decisions of about forty percent of voters in developed countries. Some politicians also create pages in social media where they post their agendas and political policies. Politicians use the social media because they know that the biggest percentage of voters is between twenty years and forty-five years (Thorburn, 2004).
Behnke, 2010 indicates that social media is a very powerful tool for political advertising. He adds that social media is emerging and developing at a very faster rate and that many people has easy access to it.
This is because with current technologies of smart phones, tabs and pads, most people can access social media whenever they are and in whatever they are doing. There are very many social media sites today, and they have a great influence since they reach a great number of people. Many people use social media sites for socializing, posting advertisements, posting news, and making new friends.
New Media and political advertising
New media is very beneficial to the citizens. They help the citizens to choose the information they want and communicate with each other or their representatives directly without any influence of the editors. In addition, the new media provides fast access to information compared to the traditional media.
The citizens also enjoy improved means of searching and storing information. Moreover, the new media helps the citizens enjoy the right of privacy because they can now access information directly without any influence of third party. New media is more democratic in that they allow citizen’s direct participation hence reducing the cost of money and time (Tambini, 1999).
Schultz, 2004 asserts that political campaigns through the media can promote or break a political candidate. In some instances, there are some advertisements that portray negative qualities of a candidate. Other advertisements seek to attack certain politicians directly.
The media is a platform where candidates sell their agenda as well as attack their opponents to taint them among the voters. On the other hand, political advertising through media can make a candidate popular even if he may have been less popular.
Blogging is another powerful way in which media affects political advertising. The extent of many blogs portrays political messages. Most politicians use bloggers to generate messages that politically attack their opponents. Moreover, such blogs create good messages that directly or indirectly praise certain candidates. It is evident that most political bloggers affect and influence how people make decisions during voting.
In some instances, some bloggers create a negative picture of some politicians. Most voters incline to what the internet and media says about politicians. This is because there is no other way that voters can know their leaders and political candidates other than through the media (Hermanns, 2008).
It is evident that media is a very powerful tool, with which various cultures and sub-cultures use to sell their ideas. In addition, many groups use the media to promote their culture and beliefs. Moreover, culture shapes political environments of any country, hence affecting political decisions.
Various cultures also use media to promote and sell their agendas as they support and represent certain candidates from that culture or ethnic group. There are media houses that are exclusively for certain ethnic groups especially in less developed nations.
The politicians who come from these ethnic groups use such media houses to compel people from their culture in supporting them. This causes fierce political battles between various media houses that support certain candidates of their own ethnic groups (Kahn & Kellner).
Castells, 2007 argues that even though media does not hold the power of any political culture, they influence the decisions made in bringing politicians to power. In many societies today, politics depend on political advertisement through media. This is because there is advancement in technology and more and more people are using the media in one way or another.
The media is very powerful because it portrays both physical and intellectual pictures of political candidates. In this sense, media might popularize a candidate even though such a candidate was not popular among the voters.
In addition, through political advertising, the voters may learn some behaviors as well as political agendas of candidates. This may lead to the voters trusting a certain candidate or developing distrust in another candidate.
Even though media is a very powerful tool in political advertising, there are some limitations of media in delivering effective and wholesome political campaign. In this sense, political campaigns should target all ages of people as well as both literate and illiterate people. In addition, political advertising should reach both the poor and the rich.
Some people are illiterate or too old to rely on the internet or social media for selecting their suitable candidates. Moreover, some people have limited resources to access social, print, and electronic media. This limits the wholesome effectiveness of media as a tool for political advertising (Riaz, 2010).
Media is a very powerful tool in political advertising. As technology advances in terms of social media and internet, most politicians are increasingly using media in political advertising. Media is useful in shaping democracies and political communications. In addition, most politicians are increasingly using media for political contest and campaigns.
The social media and the internet are the most powerful forms of media for political advertising. In addition to these, electronic media in form of televisions and print media are increasingly popular for political advertising. Media has also some limitations in political advertising. It is not wholesome effective in relation to illiterate people, people who cannot access the media easily and old people.
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