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University 18 Yrs + | Parties and Voting

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UK General Election Campaign – The Media

The impact of the media on people’s attitudes is much debated. Attention has often focussed on the media’s ability to change people’s views by the way they ‘frame’ issues.
An election campaign is probably too short to do this effectively but the treatment of topics and party leaders over a longer period of time is important.
Pippa Norris divides media impact into three types:-
  • Agenda setting, by choosing which issues to cover and in what way
  • Persuasion, by influencing voters’ perceptions of the parties and their leaders. 1983 is the best example when, partly because of the difference in the qualities of the parties’ management of the media, Margaret Thatcher was shown in a few appearances in front of cheering crowds and Michael Foot was shown walking along deserted streets or being heckled from small groups of voters
  • Mobilization, by encouraging people to take an interest in the campaign and its issues and so increasing turnout, or depressing it, if the media present an election as boring, with little difference between the parties, or a foregone conclusion (British Politics Vol 26 No 1, 2006)