Political Marketing and Media Politics: Symbols, Spectacle, and Citizens´ Apathy
Communication and Media Studies Superior Institute of Social and Political Sciences - Technical University of Lisbon Lisboa, Portugal
The present paper states the evolution of political communication and the Political Marketing contribution to understand citizens? behaviour and beliefs in politics (Michel Bongrand; Philip Kotler). As much as political discourse is understood in a marketing approach more easily acts and promises will suit voters? needs.
Political arenas have become more heterogeneous and fragmented. So candidates have to face widely divergent opinions and a huge diversity of lifestyles, motivations and interests. On the other hand, voters are not the only public and preoccupation in a political campaign. Besides the organized interest groups, activists and constituencies, contributors and party organization, the candidate must face negative advertising and personal attacks from opposition, public attention «catchers» (voters occupations both professional and leisure) and Media. Politics have several markets that should be considered but the media market is far behind the most powerful, because it decides witch candidates are to be highlighted or shadowed.
The new political man is a mass media politician, so he must be as a mass media spectator/consumer. Campaigns became manipulated shows where the mediated capacity of the candidate is intensely explored.
Supporting the thesis that political campaigns are more a spectacle produced by Media market than citizens? choice (Murray Edelman), we have to alert to the incapacity of New Media ? Internet ? to diverge from this dominant fact (Dennis Johnson). Because: Internet users are a minority; Internet users seek for the information they want in the Web; politics is not a main topic in their preferences and if everyone can use Internet so the most powerful players in political arena. Therefore, New Media are only one more tool for their predominant position, used to protract the imposition of their interests. Internet gives voice to everyone, but in the middle of so many voices the same will still be heard.