The Role of Media in Politics

The Role of Media in Politics(Photo: WOSU - Frank Baker)

How does media portray politicians and issues? What techniques are used to persuade? The image is more powerful than the words.


  • Describe the major types of political ads: Negative – One candidate portrays the other in an unfavorable light; Warm and Fuzzy – Candidates make the viewer feel good about the country or his/her campaign; Humorous – Candidates elicit a laugh or smile from the viewer; Scary – Candidates evoke images of fear (usually combined with a Negative ad); Advocacy- advocates for/against an issue/person
  • Explain the visual and audio techniques common to ads (See How Images Can Manipulate You)
  • Understand both techniques of persuasion and advertisement appeals
  • Explain the relevance of media literacy in the social studies classroom

Sample questions students can ask:

  • Who produced the message ?
  • Who is speaking?
  • Whose viewpoint is not heard?
  • From whose perspective does the camera frame the events?
  • Who owns the medium being used?
  • What is our role as spectators in identifying with, or questioning what we see and hear?


(Media Literacy consists of excerpts from Frank W. Baker’s keynote presentation at a Media Literacy Institute on September 17, 2008 at WOSU@COSI.)