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The Power of the Media to Shape the Thoughts of the Average Individual

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Thesis Statement Popular opinion credits media with great power to shape not only what the average individual thinks about, but also how they think about those subjects. Recent research in the fields of Political Science, Psychology, Economics, and Communications supports this opinion. Abstract Popular opinion credits media with great power to shape not only what the average individual thinks about, but also how they think about those subjects. This paper examines research in the fields of Political Science, Psychology, Economics, and Communications to determine what, if any, effect media has on American politics. An individual’s perception of what is important is influenced by the media through various methods. The more prominent an issue is in the media, the higher the perceived level of importance by the general public. The internet is predicted to significantly decrease the influence of mass media internet usage increases. This will require changes in methods used by political candidates and platforms to express their message to the public. The Effect of Media on American Politics Popular opinion credits media with great power to shape not only what topics the average individual thinks about, but also how they think about those subjects. Recent research in the fields of Political Science, Psychology, Economics, and Communications supports this opinion. The average individual lives life at arm’s length from the world of public affairs. An individual’s perception of what is important is influenced by the media through various methods. Primary methodologies include: learning – the persuasion of individuals through acquisition of information from the media; agenda control – the use of media bias or campaign rhetori... ... middle of paper ... ... parties are already beginning to utilize these methods of communication with a high degree of success. Conclusion The effect of the media on individual opinion is well documented. Direct correlation between media bias, voter turnout, and party affiliation was documented in a study performed shortly after Fox News entered the media scene (Della Vigna & Kaplan, 2006). The findings of this study support previous studies which suggest that subtle bias in media presentation of events can, over a period of time, change the perception of the general public. The advent of internet has begun the change the face of media communication, and will continue to do so as internet usage increases and technology evolve. Additional studies are necessary to identify the efficacy of specific methods of communication, and to further the scientific field of political communication.
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