Miscellaneous (한 + EN)

Amid all the Facebook controversies

2021-10-05 10:23
... the public sees the potential for persuasive influence from media as greater than ever before. ... media have become fascinated with themselves as a political force, and they increasingly cover their own importance in the political process as a standard part of election coverage. ... my view is that this practice stems from more than a sense of self-importance. Rather, political media see themselves as a modern-day Institute for Propaganda Analysis, focusing on strategy and tactics in an effort to prevent the unwitting public from becoming victims of political persuasion. By covering potentially persuasive media, they make us “cognoscenti of our own bamboozlement”; they make us feel as if we are smarter than others who may fall prey to these tactics. The same protective impulse that drove early assessments of propaganda’s potential still influences journalists’ perceptions of their audiences’ susceptibility. Moreover, expressing cynicism about persuasive appeals makes the individual cynic feel smarter, and media coverage of politics encourages us to be among those “in the know.” Although the press’s intentions may be good, this portrayal of campaigns and elections is not a flattering portrait of the public or of the political process. The public is viewed as gullible and easily manipulated by all things nonpolitical, and the process itself is portrayed as a sham. ...

... if the process [election] is believed to be a function of who hired the better political consultants or who spent more on advertising, then it becomes very difficult for those on the losing side to see the election outcome as legitimate. If elections are believed to be won and lost because of the tactics of professional campaign consultants–not because of the beliefs of the mass public, or the merits of candidates, or politics–then how can the outcome be respected? ... in addition to wasted resources and less perceived legitimacy in election outcomes, beliefs in the power of campaign media ultimately elevate media’s actual power in elections. It is a cliché to say that politics is about perceptions, but it is also true.

– Mutz, D. C. (2012). The great divide: Campaign media in the American mind. Daedalus, 141(4), 83-97.