On Interest Group politics using the Media

Chapter 7 and 8 of Campaigns & Elections covers interest group politics and media-campaign effects and
interactions. Interest groups are one of the great “boogey-men” of American politics, but they play an important
role in campaigns and elections. We might be concerned that interest group campaign assistance might mean
that elected officials would be beholden to those groups after the win, but is that true? Do we have empirical
evidence to that effect? What, in fact, do interest groups’ campaign contributions get them?
With the media, we have hold two ideas in our heads at the same time: media are necessary and adversarial in
a democratic system, but they can also be useful to campaigns if a campaign understands the incentives and
limits on media. Remember that while a free press is a public good, it is a good provided by private firms. That
has real implications on the way campaigns and media will interact. Furthermore, campaigns have to
understand who is consuming media at any given time. What to talk to partisans? The local paper isn’t the best
idea. What to talk to the average voter, avoid Fox News or MSNBC. What, then, are the costs and benefits for
being too distant or too close to media, and to what extent can media access actually harm a campaign?
Consider your readings from Campaigns & Elections and read these two pieces

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