What Factors Influence The Government Essay

877 words - 4 pages

When most people think of government and changes in policies they think institutions or branches of the government. however these are only the final stages in the process. There are many other factors the influence the government and the way in which it functions. Many other factors influence and help to bring about these changes. Some of these are other factors are the media, interest groups, and public opinion.
The media in America has evolved since the founding of the country. In the beginning there was only one form of media available, that of newspapers and other print material. As the country has grown so has the amount and different forms of media. In addition to print, there are now radio, television, and recently the Internet. All of these are forms of entertainment, but it can and should also serve other functions more iatrical to the lives of a given population. When it comes to the government, the media is supposed to function in three roles. James Wilson describes these as the roles, "of gatekeeper, scorekeeper, and watchdog for the federal government." The gatekeeper role is that of introducing or keeping a topic in the national mindset. Recently global warming has become a topic of great discussion. This can be found in all aspects of the media: movies, news, books, bogs, topics of talk radio, and others. By bringing these issues to the public the media hopes to initiate or reform policy and legislation, but bringing these issues to the public does not ensure action will be taken. It is up to the public to take interest and do something about it.
Another function the media has is that of the scorekeeper. This function is that of making or breaking politicians depending on the coverage given to them. If there is a scandal the media will be sure to keep that in the national mindset especially during elections. Finally, there is the role of the watchdog. This function is that to check corruption within the government. This was very evident in the 60's and 70s with the release of The Pentagon Papers and the Watergate scandal. However, it seems that this function of the media has fallen by the wayside recently with the export of people to foreign countries for torture and the War on Terror.
Interest groups In America have helped shape our country from the beginning. Some of the more influential interest group stem from economic areas such as agriculture, labor, government, and business. These are groups of people linked...

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