ERIC Number: ED191088
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980-Aug
Reference Count: 0
Mass Media and Consensus Politics: A Critical Evaluation of the Coverage of the 1980 Presidential Election Campaigns.
Self, Charles; Stovall, Jim
Presidential candidates in the United States tend to seek consensus rather than to try to discover new answers to problems and to convince voters that they should be elected to implement those answers. Reporters in the mass media emphasize objectivity and fairness in their reporting. This emphasis produces an intense interest in the "electability" of a candidate and the techniques and strategies that candidates use to get elected, with a resulting de-emphasis on the viability of solutions offered by candidates to public problems. With campaigning techniques as their main focus, reporters become concerned with popular opinion polls, "mistakes" by candidates, moral issues, and image questions. Reporting on these items in turn reinforces an emphasis by the candidates upon such questions, both in their planning and in their public presentations, particularly for media consumption. Thus candidates become involved with building their campaigns upon consensus rather than upon fresh leadership positions that can be sold to the public through careful explanation and scrutiny. (AEA)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Political Image; Presidential Campaigns; Presidential Candidates
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism (63rd, Boston, MA, August 9-13, 1980).