5 Simple ways the Media affects the General Elections

It is not unknown by know to know that journalists yield a lot of power.

The media have played an important part in politics since the First Amendment established freedom of the press as a cornerstone of American democracy. Voters need information to make educated decisions, and it’s journalists’ job to provide the education to do so.

Can the media really alter the outcome of an election?Recent changes in the media landscape have shifted how the press interacts with candidates, campaigns and the public.

1. To cover or not to cover

The primary way journalists impact in elections is by choosing which candidates they cover and how much coverage they give them. This alone had a great effect on voter participations.

One of the biggest things that drives elections is something as simple as name recognition.

In a competitive 24/7 news cycle, organisations only publish stoires that will drive traffic, and Trump, for example, had a great ability to create controversy, therefore stories were often about Trump.


2. Bias

Research has been revealed that bigger media organisations attract partisan audiences, which in turn reflects political biases via coverage. Bias is motivated by business as today’s consumers can easily get their facts from an internet search, a lot of outlets have now adopted by shifting from straight news to context and analysis.


3. Social media: Echo chamber and direct line to the masses

According to a recent Pew Research Centre Study, 6% get their news via social media platforms. But what many do not realise is that the news they see is heavily filtered.

Social media does, however, enable users more direct access to candidates than ever before.  It allows a more intimate relationship with a candidate they would never have met in person, its next level stuff.

Candidates often have unprecedented control over the images they present. But social media allows people like May and Corbyn for a direct means by which to communicate with the voting public, thereby bypassing the news media as a gatekeeper.

4. A picture is worth 1,000 words

I think for almost everyone, visuals carry an even more powerful impact than words do.

Images, especially of candidates, can convey a specific type of emotion and realism. It’s an easy way of making a lasting impression in the public mind.

Minor details such as the photos news organisations choose to publish and such factors as their size and layout can also influence voter perceptions, and therefore result in possible bias.

5. Data journalism: Fact-checking 

There are developing organisations such as Factcheck which does hard journalism and asks the tough questions which we are all asking and want to know. Because of selective exposure, we are becoming more normalised with that what we are reading is 99% only part of the story.



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