Television has made a huge impact on the outcome of our nations political elections. In these times of modern technology we as humans have became a very visual based people. One of the most important impacts on our lives comes through television whether we’re adults or children a good majority of each individuals daily life may be spent viewing television. Therefore it is no surprise that after politics and political candidates started being covered in the 1960’s with TV that it had a large impact on the people and raised interest of the happenings of various campaigns and elections. Since those times politics in the media have continued to be covered and grow in TV. It is how the struggle for power in America gets to us.
TV has been so successful at doing this because most importantly it is a visual way of communicating that is easy to connect to and grasp. No matter who one is or where one may live in the U.S. we are all attracted to things that we can see. “Television had won the nation away from sound to images.” (Source C) People like to see and not only hear, if we can see them we can form a better opinion of the individual and discover things we like and dislike visually that we couldn’t have when before the 60’s had only the radio to rely on as media. Since the time of the first TV coverage “Our national politics has become a competition for images or between images…” and we like it! (Source C)
One cannot argue that television hasn’t impacted the mass majority of people and hyped their interest in politics and voting. It is true, it has, and it will continue to do so.
Since the founding of our great nation and the growth of our political realm by huge increments, it became harder and harder for the Average Joe to be involved and understand all that was going on politically and choose from the many candidates available. “As we grew we lost this feeling of direct contact—television has now restored it.” (Source A)
After more coverage from the media came into play with TV there was a boost of interest in politics from all age groups, a much needed boost! In the time of the 60’s, rebellion and diversity caused more separation and discord, and broadcasting debates and addresses to the people helped unite them in a way like never before. “…great contributions…of television…presumed capacity to inform and stimulate the political interests of the American…” (Source A) Has that been a good thing? I don’t think that can be argued either!
However in contrast, there are some negative elements that have come out of this broadcasting as well and cannot be ignored. People tend to have short attention spans sometimes, so the media had discovered that they need to have something that will catch the viewers attention and draw them in. So, one way of doing this is to make the coverage entertaining and exciting, more than informative and deep.
In the TV media today bad stories will outnumber the good ones 3-1, because good news is often not as exciting or dramatic as bad news. Sex lives and digging up things from the candidates or elected officials lives gets more attention from the public so that is a lot of what they focus on anymore.
“…phenomenology of politics: (1) because of televisions celebrity system, Presidents are losing their distinctiveness as social actors and hence are often judged by standards formally used to assess rock singers and movie stars; (2) because of television’s sense of intimacy, the American people feel they know their Presidents as persons and hence no longer feel the need for party guidance; (3) because of the medium’s archly cynical worldview, those who watch politics on television are increasingly turning away from the policy sphere, years of hyperfamiliarity having finally bred contempt for politics itself.” (Source B)
With only a limited amount of time to broadcast on TV the media must choose what will be covered. So if focus is mainly on what the latest dirty scoop is, then not enough time will be allowed for what should really influence the people—the true character of a candidate or political figure. Too much time and energy is poured into digging up dirt on politicians, when more of it should be focused on their ideals and beliefs. Much more is happening than can be covered so they decide who and what gets covered at what time if any. One must be careful about believing everything they see and hear on TV for this very reason. It could be very easy for a station to be based to strongly in one party’s favor, or become corrupt.
It is obvious—the television media is powerful! Influence from it can come in both good and bad forms. What it all comes down to is the main question of: The media determines what we know, or does it? And how much impact does it have on what we believe?
Broadcasting politics through television has been very successful, needed, and a great attribute, and will continue to be hopefully, if it will try to stay true to what it was started as—to inform and equip the people to be more involved and connected to politics in the United States.
Each and everyone must critically decide what to take in and let influence them. We need to be well rounded and remain open-minded to all elements, not simply relying on television alone for our information. This will enable us to make well informed decisions about the future leaders of our country and help keep American a true and united nation!