News Media and Presidential Campaigns

Archive Report

Uneasy Alliance

Central Place of Media in Election Process

If president Ronald Reagan or Democratic presidential nominee Walter F. Mondale turns up at the airport in your town just long enough to make a short statement and shake a few hands, you might wonder why he even bothered. Such brief visits provide little time for the nominees to consult with local political leaders, speak to voters or raise campaign funds. But those are not the candidates' goals anyway. They are trying to draw the attention of news reporters and television cameras, through whom they will be able to reach as many people in a stopover visit as they would in a day full of campaign rallies.

This style of campaigning is symbolic of—and results from—the central role ...

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