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How important has mass media been in deciding the outcome of recent general elections?

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Introduction

´╗┐How important has mass media been in deciding the outcome of recent general elections? ________________ In the digital age the media?s role in general elections is becoming more and more important. It is a way for parties to communicate their policy to the public and also enables mass media campaigns, a prime example being Blair?s in 1997. However, media can also act against parties in that they reveal scandals, such as MP?s expenses. On the other hand there is also a myriad of other factors which influence the outcome of general elections such as the economy and party leaders. In the 1997 general election media played a fairly prominent role. Firstly, the media effectively created the ?New Labour? rebrand. This was as a result of Blair?s own election campaign but also his presentation by other media outlets to be a reinvigorated Labour and to be vibrant and energetic. On top of this the media portrayed the Conservatives to be corrupt and outdated, a stark contrast from the Labour rebrand. Another factor that contributed significantly to the downfall of Conservative and the rise of Labour was the revelation of sleaze allegations and sex scandals by the press which significantly damaged Conservative?s ...read more.

Middle

The media was significant to a lesser extent in the 2001 and 2005 general elections. Labour was still hugely dominant and the Conservative party still in a sorry state of affairs that the results of the two elections were never far from doubt and therefore the media played less of a role due to the assumed foregone conclusion of the two elections. Labour also had the Daily Mirror, the Sun, the Daily Mail and the Guardian ?on their side? and this would therefore have kept a positive light on the Labour party, therefore showing that media did play a role. Labour?s dominance and the foregone conclusion is shown with the lowest election turnout since 1918 in 2001, a mere 59%. This shows the influence that the media had on the outcome of the election as they presented it to be a foregone conclusion. However, there was also a myriad of other factors which came into play in these elections. Firstly, the economy was doing well in 2001 under the Labour government and people tend to vote for the incumbent government if the economy is doing well under them as it is said that people tend to ?vote with their pockets?. ...read more.

Conclusion

Another factor that would have impacted the decisions of voters at election time was the 2008 banking crisis. The electorate tend to vote against an incumbent if they have done badly with the economy because as previously mentioned ?people vote with their pockets? and the electorate is fickle; they vote for whoever will put them in the best financial position, as a general rule. However, the presentation by the media will no doubt have impacted people?s decisions and likely negatively impacted the current government as the blame was placed mainly with Gordon Brown, who was largely the media scapegoat for this and this also contributed to the downfall of Labour in this election and Conservatives gaining the most seats. In summary, the media plays an important role depending on the circumstance; if the result is foregone the media tend to have little impact besides making the electorate even more apathetic. However, conversely the media play a vital role in giving the public almost all the information that has been cited above and therefore is almost the middle man between reasons to vote a certain way and the electorate and in this sense it is hugely important. Julien Lepretre 12M ...read more.

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