When it comes to politics, we are living in a state of affairs that has set itself apart in history. Aside from there being no shortage of what one could call “characters” prevalent in the current political world, there is an invisible hand dauntingly similar in size and force to that of democracy’s: media. Undoubtedly, media has always played a role in politics but never to the magnitude that it has today. So as it has become commonplace to constantly be besieged with coverage of current political topics, whether it be a matter of foreign affair or the latest presidential scandal, it is necessary to evaluate how each facet of media is informing (or misinforming) you.
Let’s start with TV. Television and politics have always had a symbiotic relationship. When something is booming in the political world, TV ratings for news stations, late-night- shows and political talk shows are through the roof. Being in the midst of the current presidential election, you could definitely say that something is booming in the political world.
Whether you be an adherent devotee of a certain news program, or a late-night-show enthusiast, the wonderful world of politics is lit up in magnificent TV colors for your viewing pleasure every night. In news, the two sides of the political spectrum are more polarized than ever, taking any opportunity to maliciously attack their political counterparts available.
On the other hand, programs like “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” and “Saturday Night Live” play off of politics for comedy, finding jokes in the sheer ridiculousness of the modern political landscape. These shows have always made light of happenings of the political world, looking to mock public figures or making fun of different events, but they now have to fight harder than ever to stay relevant in the abundance of material covering the same topics. This means getting edgier and constantly mixing it up. For example, “Saturday Night Live” has even brought in Alec Baldwin to depict Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump.
Of course, television is television and has always managed to evolve to stay relevant to politics, but now we are witnessing an entirely different media finding its way into the political world: music. With the evolution of digital music streaming, artists are able to share their music quicker and to larger audiences than ever before. In the past, it was hard for musicians to stay relevant on politics with there being a more arduous process of recording, publishing and releasing music. Now, with the advent of services like SoundCloud and the increasing ease of recording your own music, artists are able to put in their two cents on the current world of politics.
The wildly popular YG & Nipsey Hussle track “FDT” was released on SoundCloud and generated close to 2 million listens in just two months. While songs of political protest have certainly existed before, the efficiency to which they were created and shared are light years away from that of today.
Beyond TV and music are podcasts, radio talk shows, live streaming of political events, and the list goes on. The point is, any needle drop in the political world is instantly available on a plethora of platforms, whether they be from reputable news sources or some political-agenda-pushing pariah who managed to obtain a microphone and SoundCloud account.
To what degree this media is shaping the political world is a discussion for another time. What is to be surmised from this article is that the times have changed, are changing and will keep changing. It’s important to take a step back and evaluate what you are seeing when you flip on your TV or open up your favorite streaming service.