Capstone Project: Business -- Political Science the Evolution

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Business -- Political Science

The evolution of American Politics over Time due to Technology

It's not overly obvious at first glance, especially since politics sometimes lags in modernization when compared to the private segment, but politics takes advantage of every technological advance there is, now and will continue to do so in the future. Back in the day, Alexander Hamilton, among others used the printing press in order issue the Federalist Papers almost anonymously (Teal, n.d.). That was a just the beginning of a road that has progressed from candidates literally yelling at the whole group in order to get them to take action, to the present day world of Twitter.

Over the years, radio and television have changed politics in many ways. "Before FDR's fireside chats, almost nobody knew what Herbert Hoover sounded like. One could seek out a message from him in a newspaper, but he couldn't reach people proactively. The famous Kennedy-Nixon debate was the one where the radio audience felt that Nixon had handily won the debate. The TV audience saw Nixon with sweat on his face and no makeup on, and thought he had collapsed miserably in comparison with the suave Senator Kennedy. There are many who think that TV got JFK elected. A lot of people have observed that in an age of TV the people would almost certainly not elect a man as awkward as Abraham Lincoln or as portly as William Howard Taft" (Teal, n.d.).

In America, people have almost always had the right to express their political opinions. This freedom of expression is what sets this country apart from many others. Yet, not until the rise of the Internet have people been able to have such astonishing platforms for this freedom of expression in regards to political matters. Fifty years ago, one might get their own political opinion out in the open during dinner conversations, by writing into a newspaper and hoping a letter to the editor was published, or maybe by giving speeches in public or semi-private settings. "Now, however, one can get their political opinion out there in so many more ways. Many people simply say what they think on Facebook, where a single comment can reach hundreds of people. Others who are more involved in political thinking and activism start blogs that can be read by millions of people over time" (How Technology Changed Politics, 2011).

These days, it's easy to take technology for granted and to forget how it has radically changed people's lives over the last decade. Developing internet and cell phone technology has had an impact on nearly every part of people's lives, from the way they communicate with friends to the way they do business. More and more, it is being seen how technology has even altered the longstanding political institution of the United States (How Technology Changed Politics, 2011). Even though there are multitudes of ways that technology has changed politics over the years, there is the promise of many more to come.

History of Technology in Politics

According to Housley (2011), American politics has seen a few revolutions since the revolution that gave this nation its independence. To date, George Washington remains the only president to be voted into office commonly, and since his time the politician is obliged to win the hearts and minds of the people. Therefore, getting out one's message has been the typical challenge of the presidential candidate. Originally, office-seekers relied on stump speeches and the press. Abraham Lincoln won over his supporters through a series of live debates. When radio came on the scene in the 1920's, contenders extended their reach into the very homes of Americans. The amount of voters went up. The advent of television in the late 1940's transformed politics once again, directing the focus of the nation to good looks on camera and message control, getting the perfect sound bite

Types of Media

The American political system has come in to a new era of high-tech politics in which the performance of citizens and policymakers, as well as the political program itself, is progressively more shaped by technology. "The mass media are a key part of that technology. Television, radio, newspapers, magazines, and other means of popular communication are called mass media because they reach out and overwhelmingly influence not only the elites but the masses" (the Mass Media and the Political Agenda, 2010).

Academics differentiate between two kinds of media. First there is the print media, which include newspapers and magazines, and secondly there is broadcast media, which is made up of television, radio, and the Internet. Each has redesigned political communication at dissimilar points in American history (the Mass Media and the Political Agenda, 2010). The daily newspaper was a creation of the late nineteenth century, while radio and television have been around only since the first half of the twentieth century. "As recently as the presidency of Herbert Hoover (1929-1933), reporters submitted their questions to the president in writing, and he responded in writing, if at all. Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933-1945) was the first president to use the media effectively. Roosevelt held about one thousand press conferences in his twelve years in the White House and broadcast a series of fireside chats over the radio to reassure the nation during the Great Depression" (the Mass Media and the Political Agenda, 2010).

The broadcast media have progressively displaced the print media as Americans' main source of news and information. As a type of technology, television is almost as old as radio since the first television station appeared in 1931. Nonetheless, the 1950's and 1960's were the developmental years for American television. "The first televised presidential debates were the 1960 Kennedy-Nixon debates. The poll results from this debate show the visual power of television in American politics. Those who watched on TV favored Kennedy whereas people listening to the radio gave the edge to Nixon" (the Mass Media and the Political Agenda, 2010).

Television took the nation to the war in Vietnam during the 1960's, and TV exposed governmental lying in regards to the progress of the war. "With the growth of cable TV, particularly the Cable News Network (CNN), television has entered a new age of bringing news to people and to political leaders as it happens. Since 1963, surveys have time and again shown that people used to rely on TV for the news than on any other medium; and by a two-to-one margin, people used to think television reports were more believable than newspaper stories. Young people were particularly likely to rely on television, as opposed to newspapers, for news" (the Mass Media and the Political Agenda, 2010).

In 1934, Congress created the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to regulate the use of airwaves. Today, the FCC regulates communications via radio, television, telephone, cable, and satellite. The FCC is a self-governing regulatory body, but in practice it is subject to a lot of political pressures. The FCC has regulated the airwaves in three important ways. First, to prevent near domination of control over a broadcast market, it has put into practice rules to restrict the number of stations owned or controlled by one company. Second, the FCC conducts intermittent assessments of the goals and performance of stations as part of its licensing power. Third, the FCC has issued a number of fair treatment regulations regarding access to the airwaves for political candidates and officeholders (the Mass Media and the Political Agenda, 2010).

During Roosevelt's administration, the press had not yet started to report on a politician's public life. The proceedings of the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal turned the press against government. Today's news people work in an atmosphere of cynicism; the press sees flushing out the truth as their job since they think that politicians rarely tell the entire story (the Mass Media and the Political Agenda, 2010). Investigative journalism is the utilization of detective-like reporting ways in order to uncover scandals, which puts reporters against political leaders. There is proof that TV's liking for Investigative journalism has added to bigger public pessimism and negativism about politics.

Modern political success often relies upon control of the mass media. Image making does not stop with the campaign. It is also a serious element in everyday leading since politicians' images in the press are seen as good gauges of their power. Politicians have learned that one way to direct the media's focus effectively is to limit what they can report on to cautiously scripted events. A media event is staged mainly for the purpose of being covered. A large part of it is the slickly produced TV commercials. Few, if any, administrations dedicated so much effort and energy to the president's media appearance as did Ronald Reagan's. "The Reagan White House operated on the following seven principles: plan ahead stay on the offensive control the flow of information limit reporters' access to the president talk about the issues you want to talk about speak in one voice repeat the same… [END OF PREVIEW]

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