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
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harmful to the people in the United States.
The influence of the mass media affects politics in the United States
greatly. The public's point of view is changed by the way the news is
reported. When the public's views are affected, the voting polls are too.
In turn, when votes are changed, different public officials are elected.
The government officials are the men and women who make the laws and
generally run the country. The mass media is at the beginning of a long
chain, but nonetheless, the media has a powerful effect on politics in the
Cirino, Robert. Power to Persuade Mass Media and the News. New York:
Bantam Books, 1974.
Gottfried, Ted. Privacy. Connecticut: Millbrook Press, 1994.
Remy, Richard C. United States Government Democracy in Action. Ohio:
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