Television and Elections, 2nd Edition

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About the Author
Ellen Mickiewicz may be the James R. Shepley Professor of Public Policy Studies, Professor of Political Science, and Director in the DeWitt Wallace Center for Communications and Journalism from the Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy at Duke University. A specialist on media and politics, specially in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Central Europe, the girl with also a fellow with the Carter Center. Her latest book, Changing Channels, published by Oxford University Press in 1997, is often a study with the role and impact of television on the end with the Soviet Union from the election on the first post-Soviet Russian Federation president, from 1985 to 1996. Dr. Mickiewicz was the very first American for being honored through the 120,000-member Journalists Union of Russia on her behalf contribution towards the development of democratic media in the region. She could be the author or editor of five other books and numerous journal articles.
Charles M. Firestone would be the Executive Vice President of The Aspen Institute for Policy Programs. He has been together with the Institute since December 1989 plus serves as Executive Director in the Communications and Society Program. As Executive Vice President, Mr. Firestone oversees seventeen Institute policy programs and is particularly responsible with the Institute’s International Partnerships in France, Germany, Italy, and Japan. The policy programs are nonpartisan convenors of diverse leaders who address significant issues on the day through values-based dialogue and research.

Laura Roselle, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Elon College, received her M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from Stanford University. Specializing inside the role of television in politics, she gets worked as Assistant Director for International Communications Programs at The Carter Center. Dr. Roselle has been doing extensive research on Soviet/Russian politics, staring at the role of television inside the parliamentary election campaigns of 1993 and 1995 plus the presidential campaign of 1996. Her newest publication was the chapter “Television along with the Campaign” in Growing Pains: Russian Democracy and also the Election of 1993, edited by Timothy Colton and Jerry Hough.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Chapter 1
Informing the Electorate
In democratic countries, it truly is understood that television need to inform the electorate. If this is done well, two processes could be assisted: first, informed potential voters will probably be drawn to participate as well as go out to vote and, second, votes from knowledgeable citizens will bring about a more favorable outcome to the country all together.

When addressing the connection of television to elections, policy makers must consider three distinct, often competing interests: (1) the candidate’s involvement in reaching the electorate, (2) the tv station’s interest as journalist and medium of expression, and (3) the public’s curiosity about receiving the information required to participate knowledgeably inside an election. As these interests clash, the insurance policy maker has to balance them in a very fair and “democratic” way. Often, however, the dilemma may be expressed simply as: which interest is paramount inside a particular situation?

For example, if during an election a candidate wants having access to television presenting a position on, say, unemployment, in case the station need to provide time set up station believes which the candidate isn’t telling the reality? Should it ought to sell time for you to a candidate whether or not this does not need to? What in the event the speaker will not be the candidate but a supporter? Do the answers differ if your candidate really wants to attack an opponent’s personal character?

The results will differ, dependant upon whose interest is paramount. If the laws are geared towards enhancing competition in the election, some may favor a small right of candidate use of television to convey whatever they wants. In the United States, candidates for federal office possess the right to purchase uncensored time using a television station. If the interests of the free and autonomous press are paramount, then a station will must decide whom to allow for on the station, along with what purpose. The printed press inside the United States has that right; a newspaper are not forced to print something whether or not this chooses to avoid so.

Finally, if your audience interest is paramount, the determination is more complicated. The public’s fascination with being informed is usually construed variously. To consider which the public interest is best served by making available just as much information as you can, from whatever sources, should be to promote candidate access rights. The public curiosity about access to your truth may be served by developing a variety of independent journalists who, unfettered by government regulation, know what items will attain the public.

Similar conflicts appear time and again in issues of television coverage of your election. Should a station need to give candidates down time? Or should time be sold at the low rate? Should it treat all candidates equally? Must it invite candidates to debate if this believes the target audience is most serious about only two or three in the field? Should a candidate be pushed into debating a tv personality even when it seems politically disadvantageous? In each case the rights and interests clash. But in each instance, the broader public’s interest might be of interest.

Whether the computer is state-run, commercial, or mixed, there are going to be questions about news coverage of elections, spare time for candidates, paid political advertising, and debates. In this section, we put down a number of strategies and practices that address these questions. By using some real examples in the practices of several countries, through advancing some proposals, we lay prior to reader a menu of options. All policy proposals have bad and the good attributes and opportunity costs. In each case, policy makers must take into account the option in light of their unique societies, their unique tempo of change, and their unique resources.

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