Essay On Impact Of Television On Elections

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Televisions: How They Impact Elections
Nixon defeated! John F. Kennedy has won! That was the report from the 1960 presidential election. Kennedy was a shoe-in for the presidency after the first televised debate displayed a clear and crisp image of young Kennedy. Nixon’s image, however, was blurred and fuzzy. Many would agree that using television for campaign advertisements has brought more information to the voter and allow the public to see more of the candidate’s personalities. However, television has had the opposite impact on presidential elections. Television has a negative effect on Presidential elections because the constant election coverage results in disinterested voters, the elections are made unfair by television editing, and
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The ads on television eventually begin to annoy the public because of their lack of positive messages. A separate study conducted at Stanford University also shows that since 1960, the negativity of campaign advertising has caused the public to give the media bad ratings and the voter turnout has dropped by 10% (Ansolabehere). The statistics prove that voters do not respond well to negative advertisements. Negative advertising only pulls voters away from the polls and creates a negative outlook on the election. Voters would agree that for the most part, all campaign advertisements are negative and false comments being made about another candidate. In 1960, 75 percent of the American public felt confident in the efficiency of the government and the candidates; today that number is only 40 percent (Ansolabehere). These numbers show that as time goes on and television becomes a bigger component of elections, people lose interest and confidence in the elections and the government. When the public begins to lose confidence in the candidates, voter turnout at the polls drops, and the public is often unhappy with the results of the elections. The results of the study also prove that the public does not necessarily agree with …show more content…
Unlike a radio, television shows the people the candidate which makes them worry about their appearance. During the Kennedy-Nixon debate, “Kennedy benefitted because his image on television was “crisp”; Nixon’s-light-colored suit, wrong makeup, bad posture- was “fuzzed” (Menand). Using television has caused the public to judge the candidates based on their image rather than their plans for the future. The candidates focus so much on the image they project to the public that they are not focusing on the issues they will eventually have to face is they are elected. “Our national politics has become a competition for images or between images, rather than between ideals,” [one commentator] concluded (Menand). As television is used more and more in elections, the focus is centered more on which candidate looks better, rather than how they act. The most important and critical issues are overshadowed by the candidates focus on looking better to the public than the other candidate. Looks have become a key factor in determining the winner of the elections. “An effective President must be every year more concerned with projecting images of himself” (Menand). The candidates now have to worry more about the image they are projecting to the public than what the public thinks of their plans for the country. The presidential candidates have become almost like celebrities; they must constantly worry about keeping

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