The Medium is the Message - How Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump mastered the media of their time

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How the president is portrayed in the media is extremely important for how the public views him. The press is said to function as conduit between the president and the public, as well as watchdog and agenda-setter, and therefore influence how the president is viewed. Because the news media is a commercial institution, in a 24-hour news environment in which all news agencies want the ‘scoop,’ and in which entertainment ‘sells’ well to the public, the quick sound-bites that both Reagan and Trump provided the media with were quickly transformed into headlines. Because of this, Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump challenged the authority of the news media. Prior to their campaigns, they were able to build an image through their appearances in the entertainment industry, which significantly shaped how the public viewed them. The fact that they were elected with this image in the public’s mind, further demonstrates the blurring of entertainment and reality. Together this will show that both Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump fit perfectly in the technological and social landscapes of their time, and knew how to use this to their advantage. Using theory on television and digital media, I will map these developments in the media environment and explain its implications, which I will demonstrate with the cases of Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump.
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