Presidents and the Media in a Representative Democracy
Representative democracy is a multidirectional conversation between citizens and elected officials. In a representative democracy, the public plays a role in selecting, directing, and evaluating the president. Presidents are acutely aware of the importance of positive media coverage and the support it generates among the people. Presidential approval by the public is an important power resource for a president. The president serves as the manifestation of the nation, responding to crises more for symbolic than for policy purposes. For the president, the goal lies in good media coverage to undergird his leadership capabilities. Even the bargaining model requires some use of the media. Presidents are dependent on the media to transmit their images to the public. As the media environment has changed, the White House is challenged to utilize new opportunities while maintaining tried and true vehicles for public persuasion.