Technology changed campaign coverage

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President Theodor Roosevelt captured midspeech.
Bettman/Corbis photograph

The forms of journalism have changed throughout the years, due to new technology and easier access. PBS shows how Theodor Roosevelt used the media to fuel his campaign by holding press meetings and giving inside tips to journalists. The press focused on his policies and his connection with the American people. Presently, journalists answer public curiosity of the candidates by scrutinizing every detail of their lives from sex scandals to what breed of dog they own.

Presently, the Supreme Court states that the president is never off duty. When they take office; they sacrifice their rights to a private personal life. Joseph McCarthy was the first candidate to challenge reporters to dig into his personal life and since then, journalists haven’t relinquished that duty. In correlation with the public thirst for insight, television was becoming popular and it is that media outlet which opened the door into political figure’s intimate moments.

“It’s nobody’s business but ours. Even Presidents have private lives.” – President William Clinton.

People present at the time will never forget watching President John F. Kennedy’s assassination nor will they forget the day news broke of President William Clinton’s affair with his intern Monica Lewinsky. Are these events which have impacted our nation so greatly, ours to experience? People argue that the focus on private affairs has cheapened political journalism and that televised campaigns have led to mudslinging and biased views published by special interest groups. However, Lynda Lee Kade’s article points out that political figures have also used the new media to their advantage. President Richard Nixon addressed the public in his televised “Checkers” speech to win voter’s hearts. President Barack Obama used social networking sites and non-traditional news coverage such as The View to connect with voters.

Clearly, not everyone – including the candidates and presidents whom have fallen victims to their personal lives gone public, agrees with personal business being examined. However, according to law (and popular demand) the line between private and public has been erased.

By: Alison Burdick-Evenson

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