Media and Politics
This presentation is in no way a complete analysis of the subject, however, it aims to give a quick look at the complex relationship between the media and politics through concrete examples of their current or past interaction. Both the media and politicians alike manipulate each other in order to gain influence and further their personal interests. Althoughpoliticians have been chosen to represent a certain people, media has found a way to help sway the beliefs of their followers, now in a more explicit fashion than when it was first coined to be the “fourth power of democracy” around the 1960s and 1970s. So, both are very powerful but do they only influence people or do they also influence each other? First, we define the two components of thisrelationship, however basic but nonetheless important. Next, we describe how politicians take advantage of the media and how the situation can be reversed, showing that, in the end, one can swing more weight than the other.
Here are the definitions of the two components of this binary relationship: 1. Politician: “a person experienced in the art or science of government; especially :one actively engaged in conducting the business of a government.” (Merriam-Webster Online, “politician”). 2a. Media: “In general, ‘media’ refers to various means of communication. For example, television, radio, and the newspaper are different types of media. The term can also be used as a collective noun for the press or news reporting agencies.” (http:// www.techterms.com/definition/media) 2b.The media’s sphere of influence: (show map) ● Countries in white: Australia, Canada, Germany, United Kingdom, Belgium, Switzerland, Sweden ● Countries in yellow: the US, France, Spain ● Countries in orange: Brazil ● Countries in red: Russia, China, Mexico ● Countries in black: Libya, Somalia, Iran (theocracy), Saudi Arabia, North Korea
II. The Media as a Tool for Politicians
The media firstcan be used as a propaganda tool by politicians. A good example to drive this home is the case of North Korea. For the first time in 30 years, Kim
Jong-il invited journalists from all over the world to cover the announcement of his successor, his son, to presidency. It shows how journalists can be manipulated by a politician just for the sake of putting on a show for his sonand soon-to-be president. The media jumped on this rare opportunity to cover the event because the head-of-state usually forbids this kind of publicity. A 1939 cover of Time magazine shows a picture of Adolf Hitler along with a striking headline “Man of the Year”. He was portrayed as being a relaxed and natural man and it allowed people to think that he was not all that bad, which is completelycriminal considering that at the time, people already knew he was a monster and they knew of what he was capable (e.g. the Munich Conference had already taken place, and concentration camps had been established). Politicians can also use the media as a means to gain popularity and eventually obtain more votes and bids in favor of them. A good example is the current American president Barack Obama, whowas elected as president thanks to overwhelming coverage by the media because it developed into a kind of star power or celebrity status. In fact, all components of mass media (newspaper, magazine, television, Internet) were used and it kind of crowned Obama even before he was elected. This was also due in part to the coverage of the opposing candidate’s Vice Presidential nomination, Sarah Palin,whose message was often too strong or radical for the general public to accept. When thinking about it, it is unfortunate that candidates now focus a lot on their campaigns (i.e. bashing) rather than on their actual policies. An example in recent news is that Chilean president (Sebastiao Piñera) has been using mass media to cover what happened to the Chilean miners in order to divide the...
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