Mass Media Coverage

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The media has become a big player in political campaigns of parties and candidates. Media coverage of presidential campaigns is undoubtedly the biggest platform to reach voters. One major aspect of media coverage of campaigns is the presidential debates which have now gain recognition as a prominent tradition to a build to US presidential elections. From John Kennedy and Richard Nixon to Barrack Obama and Mitt Romney, presidential debates has been seen the biggest platform to project the image of candidates. A candidate’s image in an election, according to some campaign consultants, is even more important than economic growth indicators. “They claim [campaign consultants] that the level of political advertising and the candidates’ travel schedules, verbal dexterity, and demeanor in the debates make all the difference to voters. The theory is that image matters; therefore image is what campaigns seek to create, using intensive interventions” (Iyengar, p. 273) Though the number of live audience for a presidential debates has significantly reduced over the years due to the advent of cable television, the debate get to many voters than any single advertisement or news report. (Iyengar, p. 188-189) This paper will examine in depth, the incumbent President Barack Obama’s performance in the 2012 presidential final debate and newspapers coverage of the debate. The finals three major presidential debates in the 2012 electioneer year took place at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida, on October 22, 2012. This debate like the other three debates of the 2012 campaign was organized under the auspices of the Commission on Presidential Debates and it was on foreign policy. The final debate was a very important one to both candidates so far as the effects of presidential debates goes due to the fact the candidates were tied in their last two debates. According to some polls conducted, while majority of voters applauded the former governor from Massachusetts, Mitt Romney, the tables turn in the second debate. A Gallup poll of the first presidential debate found 72% of all debate watchers with the opinion that Mitt Romney did a better job than his counterpart Barrack Obama who had 20% .However, the same Gallup polls in the second debate judged Barrack Obama winner with 51% and 38% for Mitt Romney. Similarly, CBS polls and CNN polls conveyed similar response from the voters and this made the final debate a make or break affair for both candidates. Using candidate Obama as a case study, he was competitive right from the insertion of the debate applied various strategies to come out victorious. A WSJ/NBC poll assigned 49% to President Obama and 46% to Mitt Romney prior to the first presidential debate but before the final debate, the Wall Street Journal/NBC poll showed the two candidates were tied with 47% of likely vote. It was important for President Obama to do well, if for nothing at all, to improve his percentage on the polls. Some of the strategies used by candidate Obama are; winning by not losing, memorable lines and rebuttals among others. Since the president was not trailing the governor in the prior to the debate, he would had a chance of winning the elections if he could avoid defeat in the final. Thus winning by not losing. He entered the debate with confidence and articulated his position well at the start. He was more aggressive of the two, using his competitor’s words before the debate on foreign policy against him with a hope of landing a knockout or unsettling his opponent at the beginning of the debate. “And, Governor Romney, I'm glad that you agree that we have been successful in going after Al Qaida, but I have to tell you that your strategy previously has been one that has been all over the map and is not designed to keep Americans safe or to build on the opportunities that exist in the Middle East.” President Obama remarked. Although...
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