Mass Media in Democratic Society: Keeping a promise

Looks have played a huge role in the media and public opinions. I believe this judging a book, or rather a person, by their cover (looks) could cause many problems within society. Yet, people judge by appearances quite frequently in society today.

There have been studies done that show when it comes to elections people find a certain face shape and structure more trustworthy than others. This just supports the idea that people basic quite a bit upon appearances. Another example of this is when John F Kennedy had a debate against Nixon. According to the people who listened to the debate, Nixon had won the debate. Yet the people who watched the debate televised were positive that Kennedy won.

I find it interesting how so many candidates do everything they can to please the media and public. They have to make sure they are wearing the perfect tie or have the perfect hairstyle and are as put together as possible. They test many different options to find the perfect portrayal of themselves. All the things they say are very calculated and planned out. Trump has no filter and does whatever he wants for the most part, which has got him quite a bit of attention in the media.

The more of media time the candidate receives the better. In Donald Trump’s case he has been prominent throughout the media; however, he has been receiving both positive and negative publicity. Usually it is frowned upon to have the media put a negative light on a candidate but it is working in his favor. Currently Trump and Hillary are neck and neck. This raises the question: is any kind of publicity good, even negative publicity?

Hillary has also received quite a bit of media attention because she on the track to potentially be the first female president but she leaked government emails and has been getting grief for that. I would think that negative issues such as these would turn people off from voting for these candidates. Why then are they leading in the polls? This frustrates me to the highest level. I want someone in office that is trustworthy not who is just going to do whatever he/she pleases.

Another concept that can be tied into this idea of media influences on the democracy is the idea of loyalties that William F. May discusses. The media and journalists feel loyal to their papers and public. Sometimes it feels like they put the paper first to get the best stories out, without considering the effect it could have on things such as potential political candidates. Many journalists seem to be rushing to report on Trump because it grabs people’s attention and makes for great stories. These reporters do not realize or do not care that by giving Trump this attention they are helping him rise in the polls. These journalists should be out seeking the truth. In order for it to be the full truth, they need to stay objective, which could be done by equally reporting on all the candidates instead of just putting Trump in the limelight. “All facts and people are regarded as equal and equally worthy of coverage.” (Patterson/Wilkins, 23) This is the Enlightenment view of truth that is briefly discussed in the book.

The politicians themselves have loyalties too. The most common trend I see in politicians is loyalty to them-selves because they are seeking higher ranks in the government and some will do a lot to reach their goals, which Trump and Hillary are definitely doing in this election. If either of them are elected to be president, “I cannot just stay here and spend the rest of my days here,” I will probably move to Canada.

 

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