The Power Of The Media In Politics

1608 words - 6 pages

The Power of the Media in Politics

   The mass media possesses a great deal of influence in society and

politics in the United States.  Newspapers, radio, magazines and television

are able to use their own judgment when reporting current events.  The

power of the mass media is an asset to the government in some instances and

a stumbling block in others.  Recent technology and regulations related to

the media have improved the means by which the public can get

information.  The final say in what goes into a story, however, belongs to

the reporter alone.  His opinions and biases are often a main part of the

news the public receives.

     The mass media is the means by which the citizens of the United States

are informed of current events in politics.  This gives the media huge

amounts of power and control.  Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell stated

in 1974, "An informed public depends upon accurate and effective reporting

by the news media.  No individual can obtain for himself the information

needed for the intelligent discharge of his political responsibilities."

Powell is saying that it is the media's responsibility to inform the

citizens of the news, because people cannot get this information by

themselves, and in order for the people to fulfill their responsibilities

as citizens, such as voting, they need to be informed.  Lewis Powell goes

on to say,

        "For most citizens, the prospect of personal familiarity with

        newsworthy events is hopelessly unrealistic.  In seeking out the

        news, the press therefore acts as an agent of the public at large.

        It is the means by which people receive that free flow of

        information and ideas essential to intelligent self government."

     No citizen is able to obtain all of the "newsworthy" information they

need alone.  The press provides the people with the information necessary

for democracy in the United States.

     According to our textbook, United States Government Democracy in

Action, the mass media has been referred to as the fourth branch of

government. (527) By simply associating the media with the other three

branches of government implies the power of the mass media.  The

information relayed by the media to the people has played a major part in

the democracy of the United States.

     The advancing technologies in today's world help the media to portray

their political views.  Television provides the opportunity for political

figures to address the public directly, instead of through written means

only.  In the early 1800's few people actually subscribed to a newspaper.

Those who didn't could hear the latest news in local taverns, and often

those who did subscribe would mail the newspaper to their friends after

they read it. (Remy 52)  This way of circulating news was slow and

ineffective.  Newspaper distribution increased...

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