Does Media Influence Public’s Voting Behavior in Elections?Nevertheless, elections are the reflection of democracy in any society.
It is the only way of communication between the government and the general public by which the policies of the government are propagated and public prestige is assured. The media has always played a vital role during the presidential election in our country. The services rendered by the media has always been appreciated however, some issues have also been sticking with its name. A journalist has to make sure that his worth and effectiveness in the field is not adversely affected.
As a journalist, you belong with the reality of the matter.Media is very important nowadays. It is quite impossible to have any elections conducted without the circulation of newspapers. Media is more significant than even the manner in which elections are conducted and campaigns are managed, numerous efforts have been undergone for considerable transformation to make more effective use of available media during the elections.
This effective image of media is clearly witnessed in countries like the United States, the United Kingdom and France.This responsibility includes various components like the speakers’ platforms design at political conventions, the timing of important releases to match the deadlines of newspapers and efforts to make the headlines, assuring people are kept up-to-date. Media covers all the numerous “political events including the nominating of candidates by parties, the design and implementation of campaign”, the holding of various types of meetings and rallies. Media have to be vigilant to follow developments swiftly and lucidly, to observe and project on what they have seen and what they have heard.
(http://www.rap21.org/article850.html)Some people even believe that Journalists also have the important role of working as a political cabinet.
Since, journalists can analyze any statement voiced by a politician; even they can turn the tables of any event or story towards a particular candidate or any prospective leading political party. It is imperative to drag out all part of facts, and to bring to light anything that happens around and which is needed both by the public and the candidates to have better decisions which could no doubt make their destiny.Regardless, how much the importance media has got in everyone’s life particularly in elections, some people are still of the point of view that because something may be true about anything for a particular society not necessarily be true for whole of the world. For instance, if media is significant in our country and it is playing a pivotal role in elections it is not imperative that it will be the case in other countries of the world.
Similarly, if the people of our country are not affected by the media it does not suggest that people throughout the world will remain untouched by its influenced, during the election in particular. With some of the biases attached with its image media can not be underestimated since it projects the greatest diversity of loyalty and responsibility. Media also bestows the public by keeping a check over contemporary regime.Media simultaneously plays a very important role of selecting the core issues to be debated and publicized during an election campaign.
Besides media plays an educative role in the society, it may provide a great help in projecting the flaws and weaknesses of the political and democratic system and also provides the society with possible ways of rectification.The chief role of media is to provide the public with true knowledge of what is happening around them. Media has always been criticizing for its overwhelmed influence on the voters’ behaviors in election. No doubt, the influence of the information projected by media is so rich that nobody can be left untouched.
However, the issue of media’s influence on voters’ thinking has been a bit controversial.“Modern researchers cannot show by any of the authentic study that media bias affects elections; perhaps media were just as ineffectual in 1798 as it is today. While providing voters with the information needed to make decisions, the media will obviously affect voting behavior because giving voters any information affects their decisions. However, providing information does not imply or prove that any biases in reporting affect voters substantially.
” (Bennett, 1999)Regardless, researchers could not prove by having any concrete evidence whether information projected and provided by the media really affects voters’ behaviors. However, politicians strongly believe that whatever journalists propagate regarding their agenda and motives during and just before the election will have a great influence the people on their ability to provide their support.Some people still may be sticking with this point of view that media does not affect the voters’ ability to decide because it is not yet proved through any reliable experiment or report as well as the influence of media on voter’s is negligible. There can be cited many reason for the media neutrality in this regard because media is also dependant to a great extent on the candidates to propagate the information.
The media’s role is undoubtedly of great significant throughout the process of election. Since, voters are in dire need of correct information to have a sound and bold decision which may significantly alter their lives, candidates also in the requirement of some source to propagate their goals and ambitions.Nevertheless, media is in dual service during the election on one side it provides sufficient information to the voters to make a reliable decision. On the other hand, it helps candidates to communicate directly with public and to have their support.
Even the voters themselves can not underestimate the worth of media during the election since they completely depend on the information provided by the media regarding any party and its label identification, goals set and past histories, voters understand that what they decide today will affect their lives in a long run.Since voters depend solely on the media for information during elections in which only two or three candidates participate, one can expect voters to depend even more on the media if more candidates participated “and more information is circulated, such as during primary elections”.The increase in the number of changes in party rules “since 1968 have opened up the selection process” to an increased number of new candidates without sound initial party support. “The mass media can serve as a resource for information about candidates and their seriousness for running in the election.
Without the media, voters might find weeding through information” and looking for worthy candidates even more troublesome and either stop looking for information and vote based “only on participant’s name or stop voting eventually”. Media’s rumors may affect primaries in the same way they affect presidential elections, but the target here is the latter. (Bennett, 1999)Swiftly overwhelming series of issues might make it troublesome for voters to discriminate among candidates. The media is the only source for voters that can provide relevant information on the issues voters need to follow and that can modify the candidate’s position on those matters.
The decision of what is to be covered, the media probably can control what people believe to be the important issues of the day. Modifying the candidates’ positions on current hot issues, the media most probably can suggest to voters which candidates should be considered by them to support. In fact the media has no significant effect on voting and it has not been proven and that effect does not mean a negative effect on voting. Almost all of the aforesaid points prove that media provides the public with the information they really needed and it has no relation to the public responses.
Importance of Media from Politicians’ PerspectiveIt is worth mentioning that media plays a crucial and pivotal role in forming and molding the public opinion. It can alter the public’s mindsets by giving extra ordinary emphasize to some particular aspect of the issue. It communicates the world simultaneously and it projects the modern society’s self-image. It has always been criticized that media destroys one’s capacity to make a choice during the elections.
However, a thorough study leaves “us with a more complex interaction between the media and the general public”. With the advent of new inventions and technologies the relationship between the media and general public is seen in a quite different way. (Bennett, 1999)It is very known fact that media is the only source of propagating the candidates’ campaigns. Media has the reward to project the bulk of same information which is provided by the candidates.
Voters normally make their choice by looking the label of the Party and the projection of that label is the sole effort of media. Through media candidates transform their goals to minds of the general public and people begin to make their minds to support them. As primaries is hold in such a large numbers that it has made presidential nomination a very extremely complicated task.Media is comprehensively used by the candidates to provide voters with information about ongoing political campaigns and their motives.
Almost all of the prospective leaders deem all this process directly related with their success in elections. Candidates understand it properly that they are compelled to remain dependent on media to succeed.Since, it is vivid and lucid enough fact that media has a significant role in presidential elections simultaneously both for politicians and voters. Here it seems imperative to observe whether media has any negative impact on voting or not.
Here we can say just for the sake of argument that if there does exit a negative impact of media on voters it should be controlled by some concrete measures. If the media does not have any effect on voting behavior, the articulation that the media is independent and meanly affecting voters is worthless. Now take a glance over impact of media on voters’ behaviors. Role of Media; a Biased Factor Involved In Voters’ DecisionHowever, there has been an outcry that media has been exploiting the voting process, no concrete research has been put forth to prove this outcry.
Nevertheless, we can not underestimate the effectiveness of media and its involvement in people’s lives but its effects on voting are negligible. Since, it is crystal clear in our minds that media has to be accountable to their respective superiors and they are highly dependent on political parties for campaigns’ information to be propagated during the elections leave us with a sense of Medias’ neutrality since it is treated unbiased. Even media itself is responsible to make people vigilant enough to judge their choices under their own yardstick; they are not innocent enough to trust each and every Projection of the media.Today, people have the choice of multiple news resources now they can justify whether they are making a reasonable choice of not.
They critically examine the news propagated related to the political campaigns as well as while deciding their choice they also have their past experiences to keep into consideration. In the light of these vivid facts we can firmly mention that media undoubtedly has its influence on overall political process but its impact on voting is too minor to be considered. Limitations of Media and Its Possible InfluenceMost of the officials working in media outlets are to be accountable to their respective conservative superiors who assure the information projected is always up to the mark and genuine. If we believe just for the sake of argument that media has its own weaknesses like any other resource of information, it would not be so huge that could affect overall mindsets of the voters.
Despite having a biased character, media always try to use its strenuous resources to remain impartial so that nobody could challenge its worth. For this reason media high officials always take pain to make sure that they are not run by the counted team of politicians and even media sometimes sacrifices its own benefits. Even sometimes reporters have to do a lot of work to assure the credibility of the news projecting a particular segment of the society or a political mindset. Sometimes it has to contradict its own very observation to remain neutral.
Here emerges a question in one’s mind that why media is so important and influential in our daily life, the simple most possible answer to this question is just because it helps us going free during the life regardless of the nature of the work that can be a dynamically changing business or future making elections.It is a natural fact that when media projects something quite repeatedly, people eventually have to think that there must be something wrong or suspicious and then they are very much careful of their any step than ever before.The credibility and progress of the media needs both a neutral performance and an impartial realistic approach during the coverage of elections. Generally, it is believed that media due to its own benefits hides the truth.
It can be a bitter really because media is generally owned by a particular class of elites who do have their goals to be achieved and secured but when the time of reporting turns up media once again is compelled to publicize the news as it is due to possibly increasing competition in modern telecommunication arena.Media has to maintain its credibility because its whole sole earning depends on the marketing it does and if there exists a bias on the media’s credibility it will start to lose its worth and no marketing campaign will in its hand. Since, media is an indispensable segment of the society its role can never be underestimated and so is the case with its influence on the people’s lives; however, it does not mean that it massively have impacts on the voters minds. Furthermore, media is not too liberal to project anything significantly regarding the ongoing campaigns.
It always has to be bond to have all the information from the parties or the participants. This factor leaves media with less possible biases because media just projects or it has to projects what candidates wish to be projected concerning to their motives. Even the candidates are also very much careful about their projection since they believe that their success is highly dependent on the factor that how they are publicized and projected before the general public.Candidates firmly believe that if there is anything misrepresented they are most probably liable to lose their support from the voters.
Here it should be very clear that media itself can not generate a good reputation of a candidate until he himself tries to do so by sheer hard work on his campaign. Similarly, media can not defame or degrade someone who is worthy of appreciations.In a nut shell, we can say that media is nevertheless of great significance in the daily life of a common man but it does not affect the voting mindsets at all. Since, it has to maintain its goodwill by providing the public with the information they to make their choice in elections as well as it has to be committed with the candidates simultaneously so that its worth remains unbiased.
ConclusionNevertheless, the media is the thing of great significance both in our daily life as well as for all our political needs. It is the most precious source of information on which all and sundry depend while making their choice in the presidential elections.Without the help of media people can not be sure of their right and justified choice since media is their sole resource by which they start to understand the core issue, have multiple views on that particular issue and decide while comparing all the salient features and goals set by the candidates. Media provide the people with the information they needed during the elections in such an aphoristic way so that they may analyze their all possible choices while coinciding their past experiences and various aspects of the core issue.
On the same time while serving the general public media is also engaged in satisfying the prospective candidates by having the trustworthy communication. Candidates try their level best to be projected as candidly as possible for this reason they focus on the campaign publicized through the media. At this time candidates too are left with no other choice to provide as much information about their portfolio as possible to the media so that they could be publicized well and their campaign could be projected in the most attractive manner and they may not lose their possible support by the voters.The question that why role of media is biased, it because media does its job adequately, it provides the candidates an opportunity to promote their campaigns and to grab voters’ support and for this reason they normally have a great deal of commitments when those commitments can not be fulfilled people begin to curse the media and its worth is degraded.
The dual sided responsibility on the journalists, satisfying both the public and candidates simultaneously makes it very difficult for them to be partial hence, their role is neutral at all throughout the process of election and it is quite unbiased.We are left with no choice to say that majority of the politicians in our country, or even in other countries throughout the glob, have greatly considered the swiftly increasing influence of the media in the making and breaking of public numbers countable in elections. But most of the politicians understand that it is their personal contact with the public that actually works for them rather than rhetoric publicized in media.Some people are of the opinion that media gives unnecessary importance to the negative stories.
However, it is the media’s utmost responsibility to keep the people abreast of the on going events. ReferencesPrint Media — ACE Electoral Knowledge Networkhttp://aceproject.org/ace-en/topics/me/meb/meb03/meb03a/meb03a04 Accessed February 28, 2007 RAP21 – The importance of the media during electionshttp://www.rap21.
org/article850.html Accessed February 28, 2007 Relative Importance of Different Media — ACE Electoral Knowledge Network http://aceproject.org/ace-en/topics/me/meb/meb03 Accessed February 28, 2007 Tessa J. Bennett.
Media Biases in Presidential Elections (1999) [Online]http://www2.ups.edu/faculty/haltom/virtualjournal/bennett.htm Accessed February 27, 2007