How to Decode Political Images


This article originally appeared in Issue# 44

Politicians are generally delivered to us through the images of the media. To help you as an individual political campaign watcher or as an activity for a group in your church or synagogue, conduct an analysis of your values versus those of the political candidates, whether on the national, state, or local level. Compile two lists:

  1. Attributes that you see in politicians according to their media images. For example:
    • acting as a father figure
    • representing old guard values
    • riding on the coattails of the president
    • projecting the image of a family man/woman
    • conveying the potential for decisive leadership, etc.

  2. Now compile your personal list indicating which of the values conveyed in the media images you endorse and which ones you disapprove of. Add to the list any other values which you believe a politician should realistically offer. Compare the two lists.

  3. Repeat the activity for candidates on different levels of government or use it to compare the several candidates for one political office.