Media Influence on Public Policy Essay

1849 Words Mar 23rd, 2009 8 Pages
Policymaking is a political process which is affected by various social and economic factors (Hofferbert, 1974) and media systems play an integral role in shaping the social context in which policies are developed. Through the media, citizens learn how government policies will affect them, and governments gain feedback on their policies and programs. Media systems act as the primary channels between those who might want to influence policy and the policymakers '' controlling the scope of political discourse and regulating the flow of information. Textbook policymaking follows an orderly sequence where problems are identified, solutions devised, policies adopted, implemented, and lastly evaluated (Mazamanian & Sabatier, 1989). In reality, …show more content…
In 1942 Australian Liberal Party federal president Dick Casey introduced the party’s parliamentary leader Robert Menzies to a public relations technique he’d discovered while visiting the United States. Casey showed Menzies how American communications experts sold ‘free enterprise’ by linking it to ‘Americanism’ (Griffen-Foley, 2003 p. 29). A short time later the Liberal Party employed this device in a preliminary election campaign. It commissioned radio advertorials featuring commentary by the jingoistic character John Henry Austral. Griffen-Foley describes them: ‘Built around a neighbourly but knowledgeable observer, the programs, accompanied by the strains of “Waltzing Matilda”, were designed to drive home the threat to private enterprise, productivity and the “Australian way” posed by Communism, socialism and the welfare state’ (Griffen-Foley, 2003 p. 31). The advertorials attributed these threats to Labor policy and condemned them as foreign while advocating Liberal Party policy as quintessentially Australian. Australianism resonates in political advertising and rhetoric 62 years later. It features in Medicare television commercials where archetypal Australians contemplate the merits of changes to Medicare policy and in the constant criticism by political leaders of their opponents’ ideas as ‘un-Australian’.

A recent episode of Media Watch demonstrated how remarkably flawed dealings between the commercial

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