Professor Hollihan speaks on the role of media in presidential campaigns

Communication Professor Tom Hollihan spoke with English Salon magazine — a publication also printed in Chinese — concerning the role of the media in presidential campaigns.

"The media plays a critically important role in US politics because it helps citizens learn about the issues in the campaign and also helps them to determine the different opinions that are held by the competing candidates," Hollihan said.

Hollihan commented on the role of social networking in the campaign process, calling Facebook and Twitter "important ways for individual citizens to connect to their peers and to share their information and opinions."

"It is also important to note that this form of communication is both instantaneous and free," Hollihan said. "It does not cost anything to communicate in cyberspace and there are no space limitations."

When questioned on how candidates use media to boost their image, Hollihan explained that "candidates develop message strategies in order to take advantage of their personal strengths and to compensate for their weaknesses."

"Almost nothing is ever left to chance in a political campaign in the US," he said. "Thus what we see in their performances is a shrewdly designed script performed by carefully prepared actors playing out the roles that they have been given in a campaign drama."