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Presidency And Media Paper

1603 words - 7 pages

What many experts had deemed as the trial of the century was finally coming to an end. After a lengthy trial that had been broadcast on television almost in entirety, the O.J. Simpson murder trial had reached its climax. As the American public anxously waited to hear the verdict, the coverage of the case was interupted. What could so important as to bump the Simpson case conclusion out of the time slot. This event that many of the networks found to be that important was President Clinton's State of the Union Address.This example shows the importance that has been placed on media coverage of the President. Although one of the biggest stories of the year was unfolding, many networks had no ...view middle of the document...

As the public grew increasingly interested in the President, it became clear that the press needed the White House just as much as the White House needed them. With Presidential coverage becoming such a central part of news broadcasts, the media felt the pressure to give more and more attention to the President.This increased interaction between the President and the media snowballed as technological advances were made. As the media evolved, changes in media audience and style changed as well. In 1952 one-third of the United States Population read the newspapers. This form of media focused on tranmiting information rather than entertainment (Hess, 2). At the same time radio offered a more entertaining way offered a means of obtaining this information in a more entertaining manner. The ability radio gave to portray audio gave Presidents the opportunity to become more familiar to the public and thus effect public opinion.The invention of television had a drastic effect on the Presidential media. Not only did a politician's voice characteristics now matter, so did their visual appearance. This was increasingly evident in the Presidential debate between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon. The younger more attractive Kennedy may have sealed his victory with his better visual showing over the aging stern looking Nixon.By the mid-1960's 90 percent of American homes had television (Hess, 2). Television was playing an important role in expanding the power of the Presidency. With television's ability to capture the sounds and images of the single member executive, the President was gaining and exposure and public opinion advantage over the 535 member legislature (Liebovich,29). Soundbites were also becoming popular and adding to the advantage of the executive(Budiansky,1). With such charismatic leaders as Kennedy commanding media attention, it was hard for the plural member Congress to compete with the President.Another aspect of television that drastically changed the relationship between the media and the President was cable television. By 1988 over half of the nations homes had cable television (Congressional Quarterly,44). With the expansion of cable television came more political based programing. With channels devoted exclusively to news and politics, the President gained even more media exposure. While helping increase governmental accountability, cable television was increasing the ability of the President to reach the American public and portray the image of the single executive.Although Congress has countered with constant coverage of the House and Senate through C-SPAN and C-SPAN 2, the President still receives a majority of the media attention (Congressional Quarterly,44). This exposure has a two-fold effect of increasing Presidential power and raising the amount of accountablity a leader has to the public.A final technologicaladvance is beginning to make even more changes to the way the media covers the President. By making news virtually...

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