Media and Politics

Page history last edited by Alex Butensky 14 years, 10 months ago

Media and Politics


Stephen Roth (stephen_roth@loomis.org), Alex Butensky (alex_butensky@loomis.org),

Khalid Tellis (khalid_tellis@loomis.org), Anna Walden (anna_walden@loomis.org),





 Main Questions:


  • What is the relationship between the media and politics in an election year?
  • What role does/should the media play in shaping a campaign and voter thinking?
  • How should the media act in the public interest? 
  • How democratically is the media acting in Presidential elections? How can it act more democratically?


Media on Media:


  • CitizenTube.com - "Citizen Tube" is a VLOG; a subdivision of "You Tube" that focuses on the 2008 Election. The VLOG allows you to get the latest  videos from the candidates, voters, and news organizations
  • FactCheck.org - The Annenberg Public Policy Center checks the accuracy of what is said in political ads, debates, speeches and news relearses. Many of the articles include audio and video. 
  • http://www.aim.org/-  Accuracy In Media is a non-profit, grassroots citizens watchdog of the news media that critiques botched and bungled news stories and sets the record straight on important issues that have received slanted coverage.






  • Media's Role in the outcome of the election - Did they have a bias? If so, was it because one candidate was more interesting than another or obstensibly the political party?
  • Satire in the Media - This page discusses the role of satire in the media. How satirical should the media be? Can satire cause voters to vote for a weaker candidate? Do the lines between actual reporting and satire get blurred?
    • Satirical Images in the 2008 Election - Political humor in the 2008 election should not be overlooked. What is the importance of satirical cartoons, videos and images in this election? These images, whether positive or negative, are not forgotten on the first tuesday of November. This page delves into a multitude of images throughout the 2008 election with wondrous commentrary and articles that whet the readers interest.
  • Election Interviews - This page serves to illustrate and discuss the similarities and differences between the actual election interviews and their parody versions.
  • Media's Influence on Voters and Voter Turnout - Many remember Sean John Combs famous slogan "Vote or Die" from the 2004 Presidential election. Click here to see videos and commentary about the various advertisements and celebrity projects being used by the media to influence the voters of the 2008 election.
  • Facebook and Myspace-The Influential Frontier - Facebook and Myspace have become the heart and soul of social institutions; namely High schools and Colleges. These social networking tools have also become the new frontier in election advertisement and political news. Check out this page for a CBC News interview about the subject. 





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Comments (15)

Rebecca Croog said

at 11:40 pm on Oct 11, 2008

I think that the entire media world needs reform. It seems like every piece of political news is reported with bias point of view or even with some sort of bias commentary. Reform of the political media remains a difficult task because viewers tend to lose interest when they have to actually take the information as it is and then make judgments for themselves. Reform of political media is so necessary right now because it is the source from which so many voters receive their information on the candidates and their platforms. Every piece of news that they report and every remark they make runs the risk of factoring into someone's vote. The media holds a huge responsibility to the presidential election and therefore must be reformed in order to do so in the most effective, democratic way.

Sarah Dombroski said

at 6:57 pm on Oct 12, 2008

I completely agree with Becca. Subconsciously, the media affects everyone's opinions. Take the political sketches that appear on Saturday Night Live for example. The actors remain aware of the presidential race and then pick up on flaws in each of the candidates' personality or platform, and then use those defects for comedic purposes. As funny as those sketches are, they can truly impair the way one sees each of the candidates post seeing them. Tina Fey depicting Sarah Palin's inability to answer questions could cause Republicans to see their party in a different light, and watching Joe Biden contradict himself dozens of times could lead to Democrats feeling a sense of uncertainty in the reliability of their candidate. Shows like SNL can cause voters to feel that each candidate is ultimately inadequate for the role of President... and when that happens, who can they really vote for? So the role of the media in politics can go both ways, they can either show a bias to one candidate (as Becca pointed out) or they can discourage voters from voting for either.

Hunter Clark said

at 8:32 pm on Oct 12, 2008

The topic of media reform is a very tricky one in today's world. I put a large portion of the blame on the "average" american voter who doesn't take the time to do their homework on each of the presidential candidates. Americans are swayed and blinded by the negative campaign ads that are put out by each major party. The ads are effective and know exactly how to get a voter thinking the wrong things about the opposing candidate. Therefore, I believe that with media reform our entire election process can change, for the better. If candidates didn't have to worry about bashing one another then they could focus on really educating the american voter on their policies. I think it's the media's job to report only the truth and again, they just simply aren't doing that right now. I agree with Becca when she says the media has a responsibility but I also challenge the american voter to work harder at sifting through the attacks and actually finding out the truth. Bottom line, Americans need to be sure they know what their voting for on election day and I believe the media is making it difficult for them to do that.

Jacob Zachs said

at 5:59 pm on Oct 21, 2008

Personally, I would not vote for or against a candidate because Tina Fey does a great Sarah Palin. I will happily watch the mocking portrayal, but I hold enough of my own opinions, read enough journals and newspapers, and listen to enough political commentary to choose my own candidates. Then again, we must realize and remember that "we" do not necessarily represent the rest of the country. In the article "Leveraging the Power of Celebrities." the author points out how celebrities have both helped, but can also hurt, the image and information distributed about various political candidates. American youth is very influenced by the celebrities in their midst. In 1991 "Rock the Vote" was started and many disinterested people registered to vote. While that is a positive (and still is today, as many celebrities are urging their fans to register and vote on the 4th), some of the information disseminated is not always correct. There is also no statistical evidence that voter turnout has actually increased with these registrations (approximately 17% of voter turnout are under the age of 25). But, much money is raised by for candidates by celebrity endorsements and with the internet, the information shared is increasing with every election. A positive mission of these new web sites helping to register voters is that small locales that have historically had low young voter numbers are increasing the young vote. One site offers a free concert by popular bands if their town has high new registration numbers. I am not advocating that using fame is the way to get people to vote, but it is important that candidates relate to the American voter in a way that works. It is a sad commentary, but if a "star" can attract a person to learn more (true and reliable) information about a candidate, then power to the candidate. Someone giving information to voters should have an ethical sense of responsibility, giving correct and timely information to the American public.

Melina Higgins said

at 5:17 pm on Oct 27, 2008

The problem is, the media distorts reality but the government cannot infringe on their freedom of speech. However, at what point is enough enough? The smear campaigns and lies spouted by the media truly deteriorate the integrity of the election process as a whole. In addition, I hate to say it but, people develop their opinions from the media. For example, most people get their opinion/knowledge of the presidential debates from saturday night live...not a very reliable source, although highly entertaining. In the hallways I hear kids repeat whatever they heard on the news or SNL the previous night...its annoying. And to think, this is at an institution of higher learning. If students here are having trouble drawing a line between fact and fiction, then how to we expect your average American to? I think there should be more sites like factcheck. People need to know the facts, that havent been watered down, spoiled, or sugar coated in the masses. Sadly, every time I read an article on a candidate I cant help but wonder the degree to which that facts have been spun.
We need to regulate the way in which the media delivers "facts" to the public. But, how? The media is running 24/7 and is constantly looking for something...anything to fill up their time slots. It is a very difficult subject matter. We dont want to inflict upon someone's rights, but, at a certain point the media is defaming the candidates. We need to stop the defamation without putting the freedom of speech at risk. I think all we can do right now is simply encourage people to use sites such as factcheck and bipartisan papers and news sites. Although that is not the best solution, it seems as though it may be the only answer for now.

Sam Fisher said

at 4:50 pm on Nov 2, 2008

Though we often look at the "News" as being reliable and knowledgeable, but in today's world, we must understand that unfortunately, they are not. Wehave candidates telling their side of the story, and then the different news sources telling us the complete opposite. As Melina stated, we have websites like factcheck.org to help us decipher right from wrong, but don't you think that the news should be doing this? Shouldn't the news and factcheck.org have some sort or connection? And we wonder why so many American's have skewed views of different candidates. The media must be a more reliable source to the American people.

Ethan Galiette said

at 8:25 pm on Nov 5, 2008

After watching the Election 08 coverage last night, one thing really stuck out in my mind. Every news channel was saying that states voted one way or the other after less than 1% of that states' polls were in. I know and understand that many states are locks to vote red or blue and that the stations are competing with each other to have more viewers and the quicker the information they give out the better. However, some states, such as Pennslyvania, which were somewhat battleground states, had their results announced by the news stations before even 50% of the polls were in. Maybe this is a moot point because of freedom of speech and the news stations are almost always right. But I just thought the way the media "jumped the gun" speaks to how the media always try to be first to everything, even when they are sometimes wrong...remember Florida 2000.

Jacob Carson said

at 11:41 pm on Nov 7, 2008

The Disparity between percentage of polls reporting and the calling of states, including battleground states, has to do with how they call the election. The media does this in a weird way, because they show you the numbers of the official votes, but they make their predictions based on exit polls and other information, which they can count quickly starting as soon as the first vote is in because its not an official vote. This way, they can predict a state fairly accurately despite the fact that the actual votes have not been completely counted.

Daniel Moorin said

at 10:38 pm on Nov 11, 2008

The truth is that the media is out looking to make money. This means getting the juiciest stories and getting them first. This idea is no more prevalent than during a presidential election. Journalist are out to get the best headlines that sell about the two candidates. Thus we have this 24/7 news cycle which constantly churns out rumors about each man/woman running. Can you blame the media? They are making as much money as they can, and most people in the world are out trying to do the same thing. The only thing I think that could prevent the media from bombarding the country with false info is to have a government regulated news program. Maybe the government does have to step in between the media and the citizens of this country if we hope to have educated voters.

Ethan Galiette said

at 9:38 pm on Nov 14, 2008

After our visit, NBC seems to pride itself on being moderate and they think of themselves as a news source. After our talks it seems as though NBC is focused on presenting the news without a bias and allowing the viewer to determine his/her own mind. I found it interesting however, that MSNBC has taken a "left" perspective and is explaining the news with a liberal bias. Meanwhile, they share the same newsroom! So this shows how the same set of data, interviews, or information can be construed by liberals or moderates or for that matter conservatives. It seems as though the news can be spun any which way to please a specific audience. On another note, the exit poll "secret room" sounded very interesting. It seems sadly inevitable that at one point in the future, an insider from any news center may spill the results maybe even online and everyone will know what the exit polls say (hopefully it will never happen). However, I did think the statisticians who determined when a state's results could be announced sounded fair and clean because they did not know what other stations were calling.

Khalid Tellis said

at 2:26 am on Nov 16, 2008

Being apart of the Media and Politics group our recent visit to NBC studios was a helpful one. Towards the end of our visit I thought Mr.Holey was going to be cliche and say we were the best group he ever had and so on and so forth. But instead , he challenged us. He had, to my suprise, printed out pages from my group's wiki and had prepared questions to ask us. Ironically, the person whom he called out for having painted the media with one single brush was one of our group memembers who happened to not even come on the trip. His critique was to not tust media that actually claimed to be fair or accurate such as factchecker.com and keep that as gospel. A site he suggested which I am about to post to my groups page was Accuracy in the Media, from what I gathered the website is actually quite fair indeed.

Khalid Tellis said

at 2:29 am on Nov 16, 2008

Erica Chenard said

at 5:15 pm on Nov 16, 2008

I thought our trip to NBC in New York City was a really interesting, exciting, and especially revealing experience. I liked that we got to hear from Brett Holey, someone who is actually part media industry, and find out what his aims and opinions were. He asked us some tough and thought-provoking questions- I liked that he made us think. I especially appreciated his ideas about separating the news media and entertainment media, because it is far too easy to lump the two together, and there are definitely very distinct differences between the two. I also thought it was really interesting how hard NBC tries to stay completely impartial. Brian Williams does a good job of keeping his opinions private, which must be difficult, given the fact that he must talk about politics often in his line of work.

Rebecca Croog said

at 2:22 am on Nov 17, 2008

I think that Brian Williams and other nightly news anchors such as Charles Gibson and Katie Couric play such a crucial role in the election process. Bias reporting and overly opinionated pundits will always be around, but these more credible types of news anchors have the ability to counteract them. I was very impressed when Mr. Williams mentioned that survey of people who were split between thinking he would vote McCain or Obama. I believe that this is a goal that all news anchors who pride themselves in fair, balanced reporting should strive for.

Alexander Freedman said

at 10:34 pm on Nov 20, 2008

How is Brian Williams a more credible source than pundits? All he does is read off of a teleprompter. On the other hand, pundits formulate their own opinions, whether or not you agree with them.

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