Media Essay, Research Paper
I believe that through media, society?s viewpoints are swayed easily without critically thinking about the issues. In this paper I would like to focus on how the media has affected and will affect the people who are voting or are thinking about voting in the 2000 Presidential Election. The three main types of media I would like to focus on are television, radio, and the newspaper.
First, I would like to give a short explanation of the three types of media I chose. For television, I chose to use MTV and CNN. MTV uses the campaign, ?Choose or Loose,? which focuses on younger voters. MTV tends to stress topics that are more important to younger viewers, such as pollution or abortion. MTV doesn?t choose a side in the election, but tries to give the two major parties equal airtime. Very seldom is a third party shown, but still, ?Choose of Loose,? helps to mobilize younger voters. I believe that MTV?s ?Choose or Loose,? campaign is a great tool for younger voters to become informed. There are many other shows on television about the elections, but I think they are geared toward the older, working class. Major networks tend to show the speeches of candidates and dissect budget programs, which is more important to the employed. Also, some of these networks tend to promote one candidate. An example of this is CNN, which seems to have mostly Republican talk shows. These shows stress the good things about the Republicans and try to discount the Democratic Party. Also, I chose the radio show, ?Mancow?s Morning Madhouse,? to help demonstrate the ways media influences people. In the show the host, Mancow, tries very hard to urge people to vote. His show has some of the highest ratings in the country and reaches many people. The last form of media I chose to use was ?The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.? Many Journal Sentinel articles tend to cover the good in the Republican Party and stress the bad in the Democratic Party. However, the Journal Sentinel itself did not endorse a candidate, which surprised many people. These three forms of media significantly influence people everyday, and sway their viewpoints to one candidate or the other.
Next, I would like to discuss why these different types of media cover a story. For example, I would like to use the fact that George W. Bush was arrested for driving while intoxicated. MTV reported the news without bias, but questioned the timing and sources of the information. However, in contrast, CNN shows and guests tended to try to blame the timing of the release of the story on the Gore campaign. They questioned why the information was coming out during the ending days of the campaign and not earlier. Basically, they accused the Democrats of trying to sabotage the Republican Party. Mancow and his radio show also sided with this opinion. Mancow questioned the validity of the source, and tried to show that Gore is a liar and that the story was probably a lie. Mancow was very upset with the media that released the news, and called them criminal.
Another issue that stemmed from the George W. Bush DUI was the credibility of the source and the significance of the information. MTV told their viewers that the information was valid, and even confirmed it with the police department that arrested Bush. The CNN shows and Mancow tried to say that the release of the information was a conspiracy and didn?t focus on whether the information was legitimate or not. However, the Journal Sentinel said that the information was legitimate, but that it was not significant due to the fact that the incident happened over 20 years ago.
Also, the information on George W. Bush harmed the morale of Republicans or possible Republicans. As a result of this, MTV gave the Republicans a chance to give a statement about the issue. They covered the Republican viewpoint and explanation, that the incident happened in the past and shouldn?t affect voters, and tried to remain objective. CNN became defensive of Bush and tried to show bad things about Gore, such as lying about statistics and outlandish stories. Mancow also became very defensive. Mancow called the media ?evil liberal media,? that is trying to destroy Bush?s chances of being elected. Mancow had many guests come on to say bad things about Al Gore to try to hide the fact about Bush. The Journal Sentinel tried to remain objective and report the facts about Bush. The Journal Sentinel wasn?t looking to hurt Republicans or help Democrats.
Next, the stories may or may not be shown from a variety of viewpoints. MTV was great at showing both the Republican and Democratic viewpoints of the issues. In most, if not all segments on the election, equal time was given to the two major parties. Once again, CNN tended only to show the Republican viewpoint of the story. They tried to shift the spotlight by saying bad things about Al Gore, and avoiding the topic of the Bush DUI. Mancow also didn?t entertain the viewpoints of Democrats. During listener call-in segments, Mancow hung up on Democrats, but listened to what Republicans had to say. Mancow even went so far as to call a listener a ?Dummycrap,? if the listener endorsed Gore. However, once again, the Journal Sentinel remained nearly neutral on the subject. Their articles did not discuss how horrible the Republicans or Democrats were. Instead the Journal Sentinel reported the facts and tried to remain neutral so the public could make its own decision.
Lastly, the gatekeepers frame the different viewpoints of each of these types of media. MTV is mainly geared towards younger people concerned with ?pop culture.? MTV tried to cover the most interesting things about the election that would help their ratings with the teenagers and young adults in America. CNN is funded by big business, which tends to be Republican. Therefore, the views of CNN tend to show the Republicans in a positive light and try to discount the Democratic Party. Also, Mancow and his producers are strictly anti-Democrat. They hate the Clinton Administration and think that Gore is an abomination. As a result, Mancow does everything he can to try to make Gore look bad and try to shift voters over to the Republican side. Finally, the Journal Sentinel and its editors wanted to remain as neutral as possible in this election. As a result, they didn?t take a side in the issue.
In conclusion, all these types of media had agendas. The Bush DUI arrest helped to make these agendas clearer to the public. MTV wanted to maintain ratings, and get young people informed about the candidates. CNN wanted people to vote Republican so they tried to discount the story whenever possible. Mancow?s agenda is that he doesn?t want Gore in office and will do whatever it takes to keep him out. Finally, the Journal Sentinel?s agenda may have been to keep subscribers and interest other readers. As a result they tried to appeal to the largest audience by remaining neutral on the topic and letting people think for themselves. I think that people need to analyze things for themselves and not value the opinion of others or TV shows as much as they do. Many people believe that all they see and hear is true, when in reality the information is filtered into something that an executive wants the public to hear. People need to think critically the next time an issue like this is presented to them by the media.