Political observers often criticize politicians for focusing on scandalous activities of their rivals or emotional but unnecessary measures concerning national security, as a means of distracting voters’ attention from “real issues”. Does scandalous or emotional information about a candidate or panic call concerning national security interfere with voters’ behavior? Or does the electorate have a reflex to look for a hidden agenda behind emotional information? Two options can be considered: One possibility is that scandalous information may only facilitate, rather than interferes with, recall of political situation and voter is not affected by emotional show. A second option argues that scandalous news about the candidate or emotional information attracts substantial attention from individuals thereby interfering with previously stored information. Examples below demonstrate different cases of exposure to scandalous or emotional information which may be hazardous to voters because the information is aimed at distracting them to the real consequences of the hidden agenda.
Zeynep Pelin Ataman
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When Europe struggles to save Greece and thus euro, many comments, essays and even cartoons including lessons derived and predictions on Europe’s future have appeared in the world mass media. I would like to draw current ‘financial kitchen’ picture from housewives’ point of view, instead of explaining it by sophisticated economic jargon, like Angela Merkel did in 2008. After Lehman Brothers went bankrupt Chancellor of Germany had this advice for indebted bankers, consumers and governments: Be more like a German housewife. According to Mrs. Merkel, the financial crisis could have been avoided as “One should simply have asked a Swabian housewife because she would have told us her worldly wisdom: in the long run, you can’t live beyond your means.» As the Greek parliament has taken a series of steps to bring the nation’s deficit under control, the Greek people are angry to hear that they must accept fewer of the benefits they receive and pay more taxes to avoid a catastrophic default.
by Zeynep Pelin Ataman As a Turkish citizen living abroad, just two weeks before the elections in Turkey, I am particularly concerned with understanding Turkish politicians and my compatriots’ behavior. From the beginning of this election process, unfortunately, I observe the syndrome of a traumatized society! For many of us, these could be healthy contractions […]