Synthesis Essay Television Presidential Elections

Unformatted text preview: Sample Synthesis Essay Prompt: Television has been influential in United States presidential elections since the 1960’s. But just what is this influence, and how has it affected who is elected? Has it made elections fairer and more accessible, or has it moved candidates from pursuing issues to pursuing image? Read the following sources (including any introductory information) carefully. Then, in an essay that synthesizes at least three of the sources for support, take a position that defends, challenges, or qualifies the claim that television has had a positive impact on presidential elections. You may refer to the sources by their titles (Source A, Source B, etc.) or by the descriptions in parentheses. Source Source Source Source Source Source A (Campbell) B (Hart and Triece) C (Menand) D (Chart) E (Ranney) F (Koppel) Acknowledges counterargument by connecting media and democracy. This is a “yes, but” sentence, a good type to have in your sentence repertoire. It kills two birds with one stone: acknowledging a counterargument and then stating The essay begins by defining a key position. term in the the writer’s issue and its goal: to involve the greatest number people. Our country, of The United States of America, Opening Our country, The United States of America, employs a peculiar sort of governing system: democracy. Simply by definition, democracy’s goal as a system of rule for the people implies that the greatest number possible should be involved. Although the media’s mission of supplying pertinent information to the masses follows democratic ideals in definition, the media’s impact upon American society, especially in the area of presidential elections, has done little to increase participation in the political process and by doing so, has created a new sort of identity for the president himself. Notice the use of the colon in the first sentence: the This paragraph is organized point/counterpoint. second independent clauseasfurther explains the clause In this case the “point” is explained preceding the colon.at length using information from two different sources, and is another way of acknowledging merit in the opposing viewpoint. The basic assumption of using the media to relay “news” to the people is not a bad one: television has brought widespread The transition toathe counterpoint “penetration,” “geographic distribution,” and “feeling of direct contact” to the people ofuses America (Source A). Spanning the demonstrative pronoun the distance between two oceans, country too quote, large for “this”our to point out is a key one direct, personal contact between and and thatlegislators is important to citizens, understanding television has allowed thousands of people the opportunity to the issue has evolved be informed with national events.how Between 1960 and 1980, the number of homes watching presidential(background). debates sky-rocketed from 28.1 million in 1960 to 45.8 million in 1980 (Source D). Basically, television has brought our nation together in that more people than ever before can be a part of the political process if they so desire. While this “early promise” (Source A) of television does easily align itself with democratic ideals, another important ideal, that of the people’s choice, of whether or not to participate, has shown television’s less “promise-ing” aspects. Body Paragraph One This paragraph is also structured as point/counterpoint. This time the point (regarding “attention”) is explained in just two The transition into the “voice” counterpoint shows that the problem is sentences. Some writer’s is added to the essay here with complex. In this paragraph, it is the counterpoint that is “comfort…at home in Tennessee.” Notice the different ways to cite in-text: the developed parenthetical citation (Koppel) with theattention. punctuation at length, using three different Television initially spurred many Americans tosources. pay Anyone with afollowing TV could,the in aparentheses way, be on the in the U.S. Capitol ORfloor the author named in from his or her seat in the comfort of the living room back at home the text. in Tennessee. Unfortunately, the media’s portrayal of political Body Paragraph Two events quickly became less than appealing as “even those aiming low [easy to understand content] these days are failing, more often than not, to get good ratings” (Koppel). Networks who try to be too journalistic shoot over the heads of many viewers; those who search for a “least common denominator,” according to Koppel, become boring to others, and those who try a middle ground remain simply mediocre. Americans’ quick disinterest is apparent in presidential debate ratings. After only three nationally aired debates, ratings began to fall from 80.6 million viewers in 1980 to 65.1 million viewers in 1984. This trend continued through the most recent data, that of the 1996 election, where only 46.1 million viewers over an increased number of networks watched the debates (Source D). In a more general sense, Roderick Hart and Marj Trieu put it best when they commented, “Years of hyper-familiarity [have] finally bred contempt for politics itself” (Source B). Rather than increasing public interest in national events, the media has actually pushed the people from it, making Americans more and more likely to take a complacent role in their government. A comment on the significance of the examples, is used to conclude the paragraph This paragraph will demonstrate the implications of the previous points as they pertain to presidential politics, which is an excellent way to the demonstrate complexity of thethe issue, Notice use of thethe dash to emphasize key while at the same your position. implication; thistime helpssupporting to keep the argument focused. Body Paragraph Three Out of this new, less involved view of national politics has come a new sort of leader—the one who is genuinely concerned with his image. For example, President Lyndon B. Johnson, one of the first presidents of televised White House Affairs, was “a great believer in public opinion polls” (Source E). Throughout history, this has been far from the case. Thomas Jefferson, one of our nation’s most revered presidents, faced much scrutiny for his decision to implement The Embargo Act during his second term. A president that prided himself on his lack of ceremony and close relationship with the people, Jefferson nonetheless left The Embargo Act in effect for several years greatly hurting his reputation. Regardless of his actions concerning trade with Britain and France, Thomas Jefferson is still loved by the American people. Modern presidents, however, are more concerned with their “image” within society (Source C) . More often than not, presidents face “a competition for images or between images, rather than between ideals” in elections today (Source C) . This shift in the identity of our nation’s leader, far from a positive one, is almost solely the result of the media’s influence upon society. The conclusion begins with prescribing a course of action, one that is connected to a principle or underlying belief (ethos) that is greater than the issue itself; in this case, the media’s role in elections. Notice that this circles back to the defining that was part of the opening. Conclusion Despite the media’s negative influence on presidential elections, the United States, as a nation heralding itself as an example of democracy for the rest of the world, must follow the definition democracy Thisofhas been , that is: allowing the greatest possible involvement, in order to improve as a APLAC nation. Though thean media has brought the opportunity of involvement to many American households, it has sent many more awayProductions and has actually created a sort of public apathy for the political process. At the same time that Annotated citizens stray away, presidents have become more Essay. concerned with the now limited opinions surrounding their office. This inverse relationship of concern is far from fulfilling our forefathers’ hopes, farther yet from demonstrating that the media is capable of fulfilling its promise of contributing to democracy. The nation’s media can still play an important role in this vital democratic process, but it needs to re-think its presentation of the candidates. The use of parallelism adds a final bit of persuasive force to the argument. ...
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Essay on Impact Of Television in Presidential Coverage

1490 Words6 Pages

In the 1950's, television, having been introduced to political coverage as a new medium, surpassed the dominance of newspaper and radio media as the primary public source of information regarding politics by 1962. Political processes and events of various measures were all soon televised in recognition of overwhelmingly positive public feedback. By the 1970's, live coverage of major political events were as common as seeing grass on the ground.
      Through the impact of television, political campaigns and elections have never been the same as they were before 1952– the presidential race between Dwight Eisenhower and Adlai Stevenson. Political advertising enthusiast and author, Frank Biocca, states that this race…show more content…

The content and the commercial spots in which they are placed are always at the discretion and control of the candidate with his/her campaign– these spots can broaden an audience of people that other forms of media simply can’t. The ads, placed specifically during bipartisan programming, can target and influence people of all backgrounds to vote for their candidate as research shows voters learn more from political spots than any news coverage or televised debate.
     There are only a few restrictions and boundaries that affect the role of television in the political process. One such regulation was the Federal Communications Act of 1934 which contained the idea of Equal Time Provision– obligating radio and television stations that give or sell time to one candidate to do the same for all candidates running for that same federal office.
The Fairness Doctrine, which was established in regard to political ad attacks– commercials devoted to the negativity of an opposing candidate– provided a candidate the right to respond to attack ads in broadcast programming. Because of concerns with the right of free speech, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have never imposed such a regulation to stop attack ads. The only rule implemented on all political message content was that they require sponsor identification.

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