Barry Commoner, the Citizens Party 1980 presidential candidate, often opened his
speeches with the following anecdote:
"In Albuquerque," Commoner says, "a TV reporter started the interview by asking,
'Mr. Commoner, are you a serious candidate, or are you just running on the issues?"'
The reporter's question is indicative of the manner in which the media have operate
throughout this year's presidential campaign. There is little analysis on such important
matters as inflation, unemployment, arms control, and the threat of war.
Instead, the media have merely echoed the major candidates' hard-sell on God, family,
country, freedom, and the American Way.
The issues have become nothing more than trump cards through which the candidates
project their "image" to the electorate.
In order to reach the electorate, however, the candidates must use the vast network of
media communication (newspapers, magazines, radio, and television) as an intermediary.
The media are candidates' only access to wide exposure.
And any serious candidate is well aware that most voters will learn nearly all of what
they know about him through the major media establishments. It is to these establishments
which not only report the news but invariably help shape and even create it, that a candidate
must appeal in helping him project a "good" image to the public.
Since last March, I've photographed various segments of the campaign trail. There was
always a vast discrepancy between what was officially reported as news and what I saw and
heard on my own.
DETROIT, July 16-Leslie Stahl from CBS waits for a free camera so she can interview vice-presidential hopeful Howard Baker, the
senator from Tennessee.
Text and Photos
ANN ARBOR, Sept. 3-John Anderson speaks at a student rally.
ANN ARBOR, Oct. 18-Sen. Kennedy campaigns for
congressional candidate Kathleen O'Reilly.
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