The recent recall election
in California signified more than a lack of confidence
in the state’s leadership. It was also a very strong
demonstration of the impact of media on public opinion.
acknowledged this during the campaign by personally
thanking radio hosts John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou on-air
for their help in getting the recall petition signed and
There were far more petition
signatures garnered in southern California area than in
the north, at least partially due to on-air expositions
of Governor Gray Davis’ perceived failings by John and
Ken. The pair of drive-time radio personalities attended
several petition-signing events and prompted listeners
to get out and vote to have the Governor recalled.
While this is not a new
phenomenon (Rush Limbaugh and others have been promoting
conservative agendas on talk shows for years), this type
of direct call to action is now taking the power of the
media to a new level.
Another example was the
recent cancellation of the CBS television miniseries
“The Reagans” due to pressure brought primarily by a
number of conservative talk show hosts.
Not that the conservatives
have a lock on this type of perception persuasion.
Conservatives for years have harped about the ability of
the “liberal Hollywood cadre” to influence public
opinion through movies and television shows. One can go
back to Archie Bunker or forward to today’s West Wing to
see examples of their concern.
The stakes for gaining
positive media attention have never been higher – and
the costs of negative attention have never been more
devastating. Developing positive relationships with the
media is more crucial today than ever.