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Media Coverage of Politicians Essay

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Updated: Sep 20th, 2021

The media plays an important role in the lives οf politicians and in the way we view the politicians as candidates in their election campaigns. “The media report and comment upon the process and voters respond with enthusiasm, disgust, or indifference.” Voters are “news consumers” and when they watch the news their “attitudes about politics are being shaped.” According to research journalists are more trusted by people than politicians. Since journalists uncovered the Watergate scandal “reporters believed that the press saved American democracy and that it had a continuing responsibility to protect the public from lying, manipulative politicians.” So if the media has a terrible image of the candidate and is conveying this image to the American public, they would need to do a lot to change the voter’s perceptions.

Politics is big business not just for the candidates, but also for the news organizations that cover government and the electoral process. Rare is the campaign that doesn’t rely on ‘media events’ to display its wares to the voters. Equally rare is the news organization that doesn’t spend much time and money trying to make political coverage palatable to an audience that is only mildly interested in politics.

“Media coverage is important in terms of generating positive images and name recognition.” The media’s role is even more important for the candidates that have less funding. This is because the less money a candidate has the harder it is to have the funds to challenge all primaries. These funds will also therefore not be available for later contests, which would hurt the presidential candidate’s campaign.

The beginning of the process of choosing a presidential candidate begins with caucuses and primaries. The campaigning for the primaries might begin six to twelve months before the first primary. The primaries themselves however can start as early as January. Since 1980 more primaries have been added and they have been held closely together. Another change that made this part οf the electoral process important was in 1920 when “New Hampshire gained the first position” and “states either moved or abandoned their primaries as the Progressive reform impulse weakened across the nation.” New Hampshire seeing these influences and wanting to keep their primaries first approved a bill on May 29, 1975, making sure their primary was before all the other states. This bill was approved after Florida and Massachusetts tried to move theirs ahead of New Hampshire’s date.

The process of “front-loading” is known as the “contemporary trend where more and more states schedule their primaries and caucuses at an earlier point in the nomination process, resulting in multiple contests in a very short amount of time.” It has many different influences on the election itself. In general, it causes the number of candidates to be less while public deliberation οf the decision-making process is decreased. The chance of an underdog winning is less than that of a well-known candidate, mostly because issue positions become less relevant to people than name recognition. So if the candidates are well known it stands to reason that the people will be more likely to vote for them.

While some of the issues that candidates have might be very important and relevant to their presidential campaign, front-loading would cause these issues to be put on the back burner. However, the issues concerning New Hampshire and the states that the candidate will be campaigning at the beginning of the primary would be more like what they should focus on. This is because winning these primaries would bring in more name recognition among the voting public.

Work Cited

Jamieson, Kathleen Hall., & Paul Waldman., The Press Effect: Politicians, Journalists, and the Stories that Shape the Political World, 2004

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Media Coverage of Politicians." September 20, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/media-coverage-of-politicians/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Media Coverage of Politicians'. 20 September.

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