More recent, and perhaps less important, controversies have grown over
such issues as the amount of live television coverage given the national
party nominating conventions and that accorded to debates between presidential candidates. Many journalists would argue that these are simply
news judgments: If something of public interest is expected to happen at
such an event, it will be covered. The political viewpoint is that there is an
obligation of the press to cover major national events, even if the outcomes
are easily predictable and nothing "new" is anticipated to happen. As political scientist Thomas Patterson notes, the press is "fundamentally ill-suited
to fulfilling its inherited role as an election mediator. . . . The problem is
that the press is not a political institution. Its business is news, and the values of news are not those of politics.x"
Resolution of these conflicts is highly unlikely, but much can be gained
by greater public awareness of the contrasts among (1) the realities of the
political environment, (2) the image of the environment that campaigns
present, and (3) the image of that environment that the press presents. In
sum, the call is for public awareness that the media in their varied shapes
and forms provide varied "pictures in our heads" of an environment we do
not directly experience, as Lippmann put it so well.
Everett M. Rogers and
J. Douglas Storey, "Communication Campaigns," in Charles R. Berger and
Steven H. Chaffee, eds., Handbook of Communication Science (Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications, 1987), p. 821.
Philip Kotler and
Eduardo L. Roberto, Social Marketing. Strategies for Changing Public Behavior ( New York: Free Press, 1989).
June A. Flora,
Nathan Maccoby, and
John W. Farquhar, "Communication
Campaigns to Prevent Cardiovascular Disease: The Stanford Community Studies,"
Ronald Rice and
Charles Atkin, eds., Public Communication Campaigns, 2d ed.
(Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications, 1989), pp. 233-252.
Storey, "Communication Campaigns"; Garrett J. O'Keefe and Kathaleen Reid, "The Uses and Effects of Public Service Advertising," James Grunig
Larissa Grunig, eds., Public Relations Research Annual, vol. 2 ( Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, 1990), pp. 67-94.
Jean Baudrillard, "Consumer Society," in Jean Baudrillard, Selected Writings
( Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1988), pp. 29-56.
Leo Bogart, Commercial Culture: The Media System and the Public Interest
( New York: Oxford University Press, 1995).
Charles T. Salmon, "Campaigns and Social 'Improvement': An Overview of
Values, Rationales, and Impacts," in
Charles T. Salmon, ed., Information Campaigns: Balancing Social Values and Social Change (Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications, 1989), pp. 19-53.
Roberta Pearson, and
David Willis, Politics in Public Service Advertising on Television ( New York: Springer, 1977).