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Politics is just show-business for ugly people

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  1. A certain confusion between media shows and politics.
    1. The border between media and show.
    2. Politics and the growing influence of communication.
  2. Which implications in the political sphere?
    1. Garbled campaigns.
    2. Various interrogations on the future of democracy.
  3. Conclusion.
  4. Bibliography.

On October 7, 2003, the 2003 California recall resulted in Governor Gray Davis being recalled with 55.4% of the Yes vote. Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected Governor of California under the second question on the ballot. On this day, a large majority of the world population discovered, astonished, how a former Austrian-born popular actor could become the first man of the wealthiest state of the United States of America. This election, which could be for many people a simple anecdote, is full of interesting symbols: First, it is the evidence that a well-known actor, which occupation is far away from politics, can almost instantly have access to high political responsibilities. Second, we can note that this recall has been ordered by Californian citizens, who disclaimed Mr. Davis (a politician) in favour of a ?novice?, Mr. Schwarzenegger. Finally, this election was interesting concerning communication and personalized politics; we can remain ?Gubernator? appearing on a podium with a broom, with simplistic watchwords about state spending cuts. Yet, this is not the first time that an actor had access to high political functions : The most famous example was of course Ronald Reagan in the 1980s, but other examples are less known : in India for instance, fifty actors and actress and twenty sportspersons were elected in fifty-six years of independence . These examples prove that democracy is evolving, on a rhythm which is modelled on the one of the media. Campaigns, persuasion and political leadership have been undoubtedly mixed with the power of media over the past decades, such as we can wonder about the nature of politics nowadays: watching a political program or a debate gives to many people the feeling that the political reality is far away from its ideal.

[...] By analyzing the trends that we have described before, the first opinion that many people have when dealing about ?show-business politics? is a fright for democracy. We can perceive indeed the recent evolutions of politics as a retreat from democracy, since the debate is more and more focused on details like appearance, private life of candidates or other details that are not directly linked with politics. People, media and politics are emphasizing details that have nothing to do with political debates, to the detriment of citizenship and life improvement. [...]


[...] Garbled campaigns In order to understand the dynamics we studied before, that is to say a general blurring between Media, Politics with communication as a keyword, it seems relevant to analyze the implications during campaigns and elections, which remain the process that most centrally defines a political system as democratic. It is important to note that processes of modernization, which have been observed in media and society, have led to transformations in the way the political system presents itself to the public[7]. [...]


[...] According to this statement, there is a great temptation for observers and citizens to consider politics as a big scene for show-business and soap- opera. Has image become the supreme and unique value in politics? Can political communication be considered as a threat or a renewal for democracy and citizenship? We will try to answer these questions by analyzing the contemporary confusion between Media, shows and Politics. Then, we will focus on its implications concerning political campaigns, and democracy in general. [...]

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