The rapid pace of information which is at the public’s fingertips is both a blessing and a curse for the 2016 presidential candidates. The 24 hour media news cycle (or the two hour cycle on Twitter) is fueled by an obsession with ratings, a public fascination with gossip, drama and scandal, and a growing culture of instant gratification. Tweets, memes, articles and comments make up the bulk of the noise surrounding current events, but does this ultimately help or hinder the campaigns?
There is an ongoing debate about whether a non-stop news cycle has a positive or negative effect on things like presidential campaigns. On the one hand, candidates are able to send their messages into the online public sphere without fear of losing control of the message through a third party; the media has more material to work with in filling their political article quota; and the public is able to make well-informed decisions by researching or even interacting directly with a candidate within seconds. On the other hand candidates can be easily ridiculed, the media becomes very repetitive and the public gets overwhelmed and fatigued with the constant barrage of information.
The media cycle can be helpful or a hindrance depending on the candidate. In Donald Trump’s case for example, the constant media coverage has had a very positive effect on his polling numbers and his campaign. His habit of repeating controversial and provocative statements or taking quick-witted jabs at his opponents allows him to control the news cycle and dominate the airwaves. While this method certainly wouldn’t work for everyone, his opponents would do well to remember that his knowledge of the media gives him a distinct advantage and should not be dismissed going into 2016.
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