The Media Defines Public Opinion and That is Not Ok

Three writers battle this new age of politics, technology and media. They have discussed at length how these things are changing the political arena and how we interact with it. They may be objective, but I am not. It is not ok that the media now has the ability to sway public opinion now that technology is progressing in the digital age.

Jill Lepore wrote “Politics and the New Machine” for The New Yorker. She wrote about the idea of polling in elections and how it has evolved. She stated that Gallup started the modern day pulling system before elections to predict the winners. Gallup was noted to have doubted its ability at first bit went on to call it necessary in modern politics. Now phone polls attract more conservative voters and its harder to get people to respond whole online polls attract more liberal voters and you have to make them come to you in order to respond.

Lepore continues to write that Donald Trump has been proud of not using polls, but when he wins them he flaunts that victory and uses the win to aid in his campaign. Polls started rocky but eventually everyone started to hire them for their campaigns. Originally computer pulling did favor conservatives because of their involvement with big business. However, once the internet came around that sphere went right over to the liberals and it has stayed there.

Lepore believes that the medias involvement has endangered the science behind polling and public opinion. Today pollers argue that they want accuracy over a result in favor of their own party. True accuracy is hard to come by because less and less people are involved in pulls and it is hard to check the pullers accuracy and credibility because they have sold their algorithms to private companies for millions.

Bruce Bimber wrote “Digital Media in the Obama Campaign of 2008 and 2012: Adaptions to the Personalized Political Communication Environment”. He wrote that the Obama campaign helped to pave the way of using digital platforms in political and presidential campaigns. This can be seen in his voters because 65% were under the age of 30. This means that the use of digital campaigning efforts helped to attract the young vote.

Bimber also stated that McCain will go down in history as the last runner to not use digital campaigning as a normal part of their campaign. The change can be seen in people’s inability to be reached by phone anymore. Again this links back to the issues Lepore writes about when it comes to polling errors and inaccuracies. Not only is polling affected by peoples lack on landlines but campaigning has as well. However, these people who cannot be reached by phone are often accessible on social media and through the Internet.

Bimber continues to note that Obama used digital platforms to still campaign on the ground and be a personal campaigner in each state, he just went about it using new forms of campaigning efforts through digital media. Obama’s digital strategy for both campaigns helped fuel his efforts and his fundraising abilities. Especially when it came to contacting people various times for his small donation campaign.

Bimber concludes that data analytics changed in the 2012 campaigns. This is most importantly seen through Obamas efforts to target swing states using data analytics and move the vote in his favor. Lastly, Bimber notes that is will be interesting to see hot the new tactics will move into the smaller scale elections.

Finally Michael Xenos and Kristen Foot’s writing in “Not Your Father’s Internet: The Generational Gap in Online Politics” needs to be analyzed. These writers analyze the fact that youth voter turnout is low even with the emergence of digital campaigning and campaigning with digital aspects. They talk about how digital media is used and the low expectations of young voter turnout have on elections.

Xenos writes that it is notable the demand young voters have for politics online because they are leaving behind traditional channels to her their news. This created an explosion in youth oriented political portals online to help attract the youth to politics and meet them where they already are.

John McCain attempted to bring his campaign online through a video podcast where people could tune in and send in live questions. This video feed was innovative, however the youth were not impressed with the caliber of the feed and his ability to answer the questions. People crave more interactive models to take a larger part in communication.

Xenos then goes on to discuss websites and their involvement in political parties. Having a website does not guarantee people visit that website. One must also have basic information to draw in an audience. Novel land web specific parts of a campaign are now called web campaigning, where you must engage people through your online efforts. Campaigns are mostly used in campaigns for efficiency methods and have not reached their full potential for web campaigning. Interactivity is the defining element of web communication. The authors conclude that we must understand the gab in generational politics to utilize the forms of interactivity online.

These writers help to highlight the change in the political spectrum. This is seen through the advancement of technology, polling, political agendas, and mass media. We can see today how easy it is for a candidate to get media attention. It is unlikely that we will ever have a traditional campaign again. Obama clearly had an upper hand at one point, but until the next thing is created for campaigning, the digital media upper hand is gone. We see that in this current election.

I saw the other day that Jeb Bush forgot to renew his domain name online, guess who came in and purchased that name, Trump. I see how digital media and mass media have changed society, elections and our everyday life. To tell you the truth, I am scared.

I think that with out digital media, Trump would have no political space in this election. However, every single day I turn to online news, tradition media and Facebook and I see Trumps face. He says and does outrageous tings and somehow that wins him space in the world. He gets free publicity for being an awful person.

The world is able to see him and hear him because of media. NO media is bad media. I have learned this in PR and its true. A headline could read “Arrogant Trump Runs for Office with No Qualifications or Care in the World” and people would be convinced to vote for him. Name recognition and publicity now play a role in the elections. He is everywhere and that gives him a platform to stand on.

There are people in the world, who want to vote for Trump, who I will never agree with, but they are out there. The sad thing is, they are able to see his ideas and his truths because of the media. They are spreading his word just by posting about the crazy things that he has done.

Public opinion is swayed by bias. The news, media and outlets CHOOSE what they post. They do not post every single detail from every single side. They choose a story and create it. We read what we want to and often do not look for second sources. This freedom to write what you want and read what you want leads to uneducated voters.

I want to go back to a world where you have to earn your media by doing the right thing. A world where a politician needs experience and education before they can run. A world where we do not have a two political party system. A world searching for peace. I am sorry but we all know Trump will not get us there. I am not saying that my perfect world is the right choice. But I urge you to think next time before you click on a Facebook article because eth headline is catchy. At the very least, check multiple sources, always.