Audience Theory:

1. USING THE MEDIA FOR POLITICAL PERSUASION

A really useful insight into the relationship between politics and the media is provided by Professor Philip Cowley of Queen Mary College, University of London @philipjcowley in this Radio 4 documentary, called Ballot Box. Who argues that, ‘while there are good reasons for us to be worried, in fact many of these same anxieties can be witnessed being provoked by the introduction of much earlier, non-digital technologies, such as radio, TV, polling and even political posters’. All of which ‘have been both exploited by tech-savvy party operatives and simultaneously accused of simplifying and coarsening political discourse’.

Early uses of modern media technologies

The use of modern media technologies to persuade and encourage citizens to support a political parties can be traced back to early recordings. For example, The Land Song used by the Liberal Party in the 1910 election, which was produced and distributed as both records and song sheets (so audio and print form media).

For more information on this listen to this report by Andrew Whitehead.

https://www.andrewwhitehead.net/the-land-song.html

The use of popular songs, singers and celebrities are a recognised technique used by politicians as they seek to boast popularity and popular support. See for example, how Grime fell in love with Jeremy Corbyn or Labour’s ‘Things Can Only Get Better‘ (see below) used in the 1997 general election. Overall, this suggests a strategy that seeks to connect and incorporate mass audience appeal into party political success.

So in summary, it is clear that there is a clear relationship between the media and the desire to manage and modify behaviour. So in any topic that you study, you first of all need to detail some facts and figures – essentially gather as much evidence and data as you can – so that you can then draw upon this when you develop (and show) your understanding of theories, concepts and academic ideas.

For instance, alongside the early use of music and printing (music manuscripts) there also emerged the early use of posters, see for example, the first General Election of 1910, which was known as the ‘poster election’ where something like 1.2 million posters were used in London and where, according to Chris Burgess, ‘posters become associated with general elections‘. To trace this relationship look at this article: a century of political posters.

Activity: design your own Election posters: use this site to help with templates and ideas

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