The Media-Political Dance

By Eric Anderson

There are two prominent features of business that have taken up residence in Washington DC; politics (obviously) and the media. Now these two professions have been interlocked in a love-hate tango of sorts, politicians distrust the media while the media distrusts the politicians all the while both relying on one another in order to get their jobs done.

Today I heard the thoughts from both sides of the table, having the opportunity to get a sit-down with Claire McCaskill’s “New Media Coordinator,” Anamarie Rebori; as well as hearing from Sharyl Attkisson, an ex-investigative journalist for CBS. It was very interesting to get an outside view on how either party views the other.

On the side of government, Ms. Rebori discussed how the goal of communication within the McCaskill office was to maintain “good coverage” meaning the media covering her with a good light as well as trying to accurately represent the Senator’s policy and opinions. Often this is done through giving the stories that they want the public to hear to journalists while actively trying to navigate around bad press. She saw the media as being too intrusive and wanting to detail too much in order to produce a flashy story; which detracts from the goal of communication that McCaskill’s office has established.

On the side of media, Ms. Attkisson believed that the government was not transparent enough in providing accurate information to the public, specifically the Executive Branch. According to her view on the subject  the government withholds the information that is potentially damaging to their careers, which in her mind is similar to lying to the public.

It oddly seems to fit into our theme of compromise during this academic seminar, just as Republicans and Democrats both have separate ideas of how things should be done but meet in the middle somewhere as a compromise; politics and the media are similar. The media would like to get a lot of information disclosed about the inner-workings of politicians’ actions whereas politicians only want flattering things published about them – at the end of the day they seem to meet in between the two sides and are both better off in some ways and are looking to improve in others.

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