We all see them. The cookie cutter images of Presidential, Senatorial or Gubernatorial candidates standing behind podiums in freshly pressed suits, shaking hands and waving at at crowds. However, do these planned imaged and preconceived notions of what a proper candidate should look like influence the success of a campaign entirely?
Jamieson touches on the public spectacle of Presidential campaigning and how now, more than ever, candidates’ images are packaged for media outlets and distributed to content consumers in the privacy of their homes. These perceptions and ads that circulate are important to display the strengths and weaknesses of candidates, showcase the financial backing a candidate has, and reassure the public that said candidate is the right choice.
Katz, in contrast, discusses the two-step flow of communication and supports its hypothesis. The two-step model is the idea that communication flows from media to opinion leaders who then disseminate this information to the public. This suggests that media communication is less direct than previously believed and human interaction plays an important role in the decision making process in the political arena.
Based on your experiences with political campaigns, do you focus more on opinion leader’s beliefs or on the packaged image of a candidate? Do you find your perceptions are changed in an easier manner through connecting with individuals or in the privacy of your own home watching mass media’s interpretation of candidates in an election? What sort of effect would you assume this has on the electorate as a whole?