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Problems with Television

W. Lance Bennett cites a crisis in government and places the roots of this problem in media, money, and marketing (Bennett ix). Television has been blamed for a multitude of social ills, including the trivialization of the American political scene. The contests involved in political campaigns and elections are nothing new, as has been pointed out in the debate over the increasing use of negative campaigning and campaign advertising. Many feel that television has contributed to the negativity of campaigns today, while others point out that campaigns have always been negative in some degree. What is different is the medium through which this negativity is projected. Yet, there seems to be more to it than simply a difference in delivery system. The world of a century ago and the world of today are very different places because of the intervening growth in mass media, including that giant of them all, television. Political campaigns use advertising in ways they never did in the past, and the advertising of forty, thirty, twenty, or even ten years ago for political campaigns is very different in tone, content, and degree of manipulation from what is being attempted and even accomplished today. Critics of the way the media has developed around these issues find that the public is turned off by such antics and that this is a reason for lower voter turnout and so for a growing gulf between citizens and their government. The real problem is that television and other media today deal not in substance but in image, and the people are becoming more aware of this fact and are finding it harder to recognize the real person beneath the image.

Daniel Dayan and Elihu Katz note that there are three basic scripts or forms which constitute the main narrative possibilities within the corpus of events in political discourse. They name these three scripts Contests, Conquests, and Coronations and define each according to the type of media event ...

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Problems with Television. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 11:51, May 22, 2019, from