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Mass Media’s Influence on Presidential Elections

During the first debate, Nixon was not well prepared and had little made up while his rival Kennedy was well dressed and prepared for the interview. During the debate, there were huge signs of nervousness and panic on Nixon’s face which led the people to believe that Nixon was not ready to lead the nation while people who were listening to the match on the radio believed that Nixon had won, as they could not see the face of any of the candidates. This was the first time that TV was used as a political tool by political candidates.
Media has had a tremendous effect on presidential elections but their way of influencing is not without controversy. Media will sometimes provide stories dealing with the personal lives of presidential candidates which is very harmful to the candidate and not useful even to the undecided voter. Influencing these undecided voters has a huge impact on American politics.
America basically has two big news channels that are very important to the American public. one is Fox news and the other is CNN. Both the channels have a huge impact regarding the painting of the picture of the presidential candidate.
Regarding the impact of Fox News on the American public, Stefano Della Vigna and Ethan Kaplan have conducted a study on the ultraconservative Rupert Murdoch’s channel. Fox was launched in 1996 and by 2000 it was available in more than 20% of American households. They conducted a study in which they compared the change in Republican vote bank between 1996 and 2000, and they came to the conclusion that Fox news had increased the vote bank of Republican Party in the areas which received Fox news by 0.5% or 200,000 votes.