There Is No Business Like Show Business

Essay, 2006

11 Pages, Grade: 8,50/10,00


There Is No Business Like Show Business

No one can deny the influence of media in our lives - especially since it is very difficult to escape its reach. Media is next to family, peers, organizations and occurring events one of the major influences that have an impact on a person’s political socialization and attitudes. (Thinkwell 2001). TV discussions prior elections get special attention and politicians are more and more trying to use the media to their advantage. There are various ways to get the media’s attention but with my essay I will argue that interaction in form of entertainment has developed to a trend and is now the most common instrument being used among politicians to get the spotlight onto them. Entertainment has become an important value of society and it seems that politics and show business are becoming increasingly linked.

Politicians need to make use of a communication medium in order to get their voices heard. Nevertheless it is not only about ‘being heard’ but it is also about being seen and being wanted. That is why it is very important for a politician to get news coverage in every possible constellation to create awareness. Every politician relies on voters and needs their support to be elected. The better a voter can picture a politician and identify with his ideas, the higher are the chances that he will vote for him. So the politician’s challenge is trying to identify with the potential voter and present his personality and party program in a manner that leaves positive impression and might convince the voter to elect him.

The best method to do so is by increasing the media’s news coverage on him. News coverage is especially important when it comes down to swing votes during election and can influence those who did not make up their mind yet. It is tantamount important for the recognition of the politician and helps him to increase his ‘presence’ in society.

There are many ways to increase news coverage, but I think that in a time where amusement has become the centerpiece of our society, entertainment is one of the best instruments to do so.

The link of politics with entertainment is not only an appearance of the 21st century but can be traced back into history. During the Lincoln-Douglas debates for instance, small towns of a few thousands inhabitants were the gathering point for up to 20,000 people to hear the first discussions of these two politicians. It was an event, which everybody wanted to attend: “This was the best show in town … Politics provided high drama and spirited fun to neighborhoods devoid of activities anywhere near as engaging and exciting.” (Schudson 1998). Today, the entertainment factor of politics had forcibly to increase to cope with society’s demands. New inventions and modern technologies have enabled us to download podcasts, read papers online, record information and consume it later or simply be updated with the latest information 24/7. Society has an enormous amount of information sources at its disposal, which holds quite a challenge for the media, because in order to further increase profits, it has to filter news according to its ‘newsworthiness’. A filtering process can guarantee that irrelevant information is left a side and issues, which might seem newsworthy, are broadcasted or printed. Especially television tends to emphasis entertainment value when considering newsworthiness and Jack Balkin, in his book ‘Cultural Software’, even links it to Darwin’s theory of evolution when he writes that ‘the less entertaining is weeded out, the more entertaining survives to be broadcasted.’ (Balkin 1998). Entertainment has always been important to people but in a globalizing and faster moving world, it has become essential to experience something different than the usual, to switch off for some time and be simply entertained. I think that entertainment helps to get in balance with the obligatory part in life, which is filled with responsibilities, duties and obligations and the voluntary part, which consists of elements to distract oneself from the burden of the obligatory part. People want to be entertained with things that differ from the ordinary and distract them from their daily routine. Show business sells and media are not likely to filter something, which sells. Politicians who take advantage of the media’s aim to maximize profits will use entertainment as a tool to bring across their messages via the media in the same matter as the Achaeans entered Troy in Greek mythology.

Politics is acting: “The last time in Miami I was struck by something which has been observed since politics began – that an election campaign is not only like theatre, it is theatre. What we are doing now is trying to cast the part of President.” (Times 4 Nov. 1972). What Arthur Miller has observed proves one more time that acting has become omnipresent, whether in politics or daily life. Given the fact that the average American spends 19 and the average Briton 18 hours in front of the TV (BBC News 2005), one can draw the conclusion that society is used to acting, because it is confronted with acting in everything it sees. Politicians have learned how to use acting in order to adapt to the age of entertainment. By recognizing the importance of acting, politics has become show business, which – according to Arthur Miller – basically serves two purposes: By acting, the politician gets himself known to others whereas his main intention lies not in the fact that voters remember his ‘performance’ but mainly his name. (Miller 2001).


Excerpt out of 11 pages


There Is No Business Like Show Business
The Hague University  (School for Higher European Studies)
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
File size
392 KB
There, Business, Like, Show, Business
Quote paper
Marcus Hitzberger (Author), 2006, There Is No Business Like Show Business, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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