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How Television and Media have Affected Contemporary Politics

How Television and Media have Affected Contemporary Politics

Both of these argumentative papers were written respectively by Samuel Popkin and Anthony King. Popkin argues that the commercialism of the electoral process is responsible for the low voter turnout. He believes that the campaigners must focus more on the real political issues in order to stimulate voter turnout. King also believes that the media has effected the government for the worst. His solution for the problem is to give our representatives longer terms, relieving the stress of campaigning, and thus giving them more time to focus on the issues.


In his paper Popkin acknowledges the fact that the majority of the American people get their information about their governors through television. This gives the media an extraordinary amount of power. Their coverage and opinions can effectively make or break an election.


This in turn makes many politicians very consciences of what they say and do in front of the camera. They are not really able to express their full opinion, due to time constraints and fear of being made a fool of. A good example of this is when Nixon lost to Kennedy in 1960. Their last debate killed Nixon’s chance for the White House that year.


Another problem with the media is that a good politician can cover up his mistakes. If he lacks knowledge on a particular issue he can pretend to cover this mistake with quick words or a broad slogan that doesn’t even answer the question. In these days the political campaign has turned into a mass art in which the message is translated so that the simplest man can understand it. This in turn hinders the smarter, and usually more interested viewer, from learning what the candidate is truly about. This makes the voter uninterested in the campaign, alienating even more people.


With so many issues having to be addressed, it is hard for the candidate to give a clear opinion on his beliefs. This forces him to spend his very short amount of time on the air talking about main issues. Not spending time on the smaller threats can be a pitfall in a politician’s political career and eventually a problem to the American people. Popkin believes that on the road campaigning would diversify the candidate’s topics of discussion, thus giving you...

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