Videostyle in Presidential Campaigns: Style and Content of Televised Political Advertising

By Lynda Lee Kaid; Anne Johnston | Go to book overview

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Videostyle: Concept, Theory, and Method

As the previous chapters document, political advertising has made its mark on national elections; our national elections do not occur without voters hearing and seeing numerous political ads. However, political advertising is not something that candidates do to voters. The messages and the images present in televised political ads are constructed using fears, myths, concerns, and narratives that exist in culture and in voters. In fact, political advertising, like all political communication in campaigns, "is an interactive process that constructs reality for voters" ( Swanson, 1991, p. 11). The construction of this reality and the continuous negotiation of meaning that takes place during a campaign involve all media forms, not just television political advertising. News coverage, debates, brochures, and advertising inundate voters with symbols, information, events, and choices about the candidates and about the campaigns. But as the previous chapters have indicated, political advertising receives much attention from scholars and practitioners alike because of its brevity, effectiveness, and nature as completely controlled communication (completely controlled by the candidate and his or her "handlers," that is). While this aspect of political advertising has caused debate and concern over its merits, it

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