Impact of Media on Politics Essay

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Impact of Media on Politics
The role media plays in politics is undeniable. Our soundbite culture with its inherent limited attention span dictates a “McNugget” of information. Unfortunately this often leads to misrepresentations being accepted as fact. A glaring example of this was the Killian documents controversy. In September 2004, the CBS program 60 Minutes Wednesday aired a report critical of President George W. Bush's service in the United States National Guard. The four documents included criticisms of Bush's service in the Guard during the 1970s. These documents were supposedly created by Bush's commander, the late Lieutenant Colonel Jerry B. Killian. It was also reported that the documents were obtained by a CBS News producer
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On a lighter note, presidential candidate Bill Clinton made a surprise appearance on The Arsenio Hall Show during the 1992 Presidential Campaign. He was trailing in the polls at the time so it was a very savvy attempt to capture the young voter. Mr. Clinton wore dark sunglasses and played "Heartbreak Hotel" on his saxophone. In the end, Bill Clinton easily defeated George Bush and Ross Perot with 43 percent of the vote. Some pundits have suggested that this appearance turned the race around.
Easily the most polarizing force in media today is talk radio. In 1987 the FCC repealed the Fairness Doctrine. This regulation had required that stations provide free air time for responses to any controversial opinions that were broadcast. Now the opportunity was available for a level of flatly partisan programming. As referenced by Wikipedia,
“Talk radio provided an immediacy and a high degree of emotionalism that seldom is reached on television or in magazines. Pew researchers found in 2004 that 17% of the public regularly listens to talk radio. This audience is mostly male, middle-aged and conservative. Among those who regularly listen to talk radio, 41% are Republican and 28% are Democrats. Furthermore, 45% describe themselves as conservatives, compared with 18% who say they are liberal.”

Rush Limbaugh was the pioneer in the 1990s talk radio movement. Rush’s unprecedented success demonstrated
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