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By Dan Shivers
Stereotypes of Politics
• A prevalent view of American politics, especially
in older citizens, is one of corruption and deceit.
These citizens believe that the election of
officials and the stuff that goes on behind closed
doors is not in the best interest of the country or
the people. They do not value the work and
achievements performed by the government and
are commonly cynical in other affairs. At its
most basic form, they believe that politics
should not be trusted.
A Few Examples

• West Wing
• Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
• 24
• Eliot Spitzer
• Rod Blagojevich
• The Manchurian Candidate
• Boss Tweed
Supporting Examples
This image of Boss
Tweed shows the
corruption involved
with American politics.
Tweed himself is a
large greasy man,
looks corrupt; felons
are notoriously corrupt
as well. This shows
that they would be just
as good politicians as
the reformers.
This is the President of the
United States in the TV
series, 24. He supports the
perception of corrupt
politicians because in the
show, he cuts a deal with
terrorists and assassinates
members of his own staff.
He also wheels-and-deals
behind closed doors, and is
eventually found out. Even
this picture of him seems
In more modern
terms, an example
of a corrupt
politician would be
Illinois Governor
Rod Blagojevich.
Recently, he attempted
to sell President
Obama’s Senate seat
to the highest bidder, rather than appoint somebody with
merit to the position. This extreme case of electioneering
most definitely supports the corrupt political stereotype
because it is not supported in any way by the Constitutional
political process.
Unique Example
An example that does not
adhere to the common view
of American politics is the
show The West Wing.
Where the stereotype is that
politics and politicians are
corrupt, this show shows us
that politics is a hard and
intense process that requires much commitment and compromise.
It expresses the alternative representation of politics that
sacrifices must be made for the greater good and that
politicians are actually working for the betterment of society.
Media teaches us that U.S. politics and elections are false and
untrustworthy. This representation, despite having some
support in the real world, is one that should not be held as
American democracy is founded on the principles of civic duty
and public participation. If all Americans believed the
stereotypes that the media told us about elections and
politicians, these principles that we all take for granted
would unravel. People wouldn’t trust the government and
voting rates would decline precipitously, allowing for merit-
less people to take hold of the leadership and abuse their
power. We must not let this happen to our government
system, and so we must not believe what the media is
telling us.