Media And Politics The media is an intricate part of American government, intertwined with the practice of democracy, but to what extent does the media influence public opinion? To answer that several aspects of media coverage have to be explored. The first fact is that the media is Americas basic resource for all the news concerning American politics. The second aspect is that the opinion expressed by the press influences the opinion adopted by the public. Lastly the issues the media deem important help set the national agenda. The most basic way the media influence public opinion is by offering knowledge about government decisions and access to government information.
Daily the press deliver the raw information to the nation, whom in turn form into opinions. Without the media it would take the public longer to become educated about governmental proceedings. The media send messages across the nation. Before the advancement of such media as the television, radio, and the Internet, a much smaller percentage of Americans were informed about the issues concerning the nation. The second way the media can influence public opinion is through their ability to convey an overall tone to their readers and viewers according to their own sentiments. Often a newspapers own feelings on a certain issue are expressed in their articles.
When the public reads about such issues they can adopt the attitude which the media portrayed. The press my frame stories in a way that enhances the overall tone toward government and politics. Unfortunately the most common trend is to hold a negative attitude toward government. This negative tone has led to a national decline in voter participation. A greater portion of the country now attains a skeptical view of the American government.
Most likely the largest way the media impact the public opinion is through agenda setting. Because of the vast number of issues plaguing America today, the press has to decide which they will cover and which they will not. Their reporting has a vital connection to what the public comes to believe are the important issues in the country. If the press repeatedly covers the gun control issue, then the nation itself comes to believe that it is significant. What The New York Times run on their front cover today is what constituents across the nation begin to feel is important. Because the nation deems it important, than it is introduced into legislature tomorrow.
The press possesses the capability to create the impression that certain problems are of greater urgency than others. Given the fact that both time and space are money to the press, those certain problems are usually about political strategy, political infighting, political scandal and the private lives of politicians. These tend to over take the less entertaining, but more substantial stories because they do not make money. One of the most ironic ways the media influences public opinion is by bringing the candidates personally to each constituent through the use of television and radio. Could one honestly say that Abraham Lincoln could be elected if he were running today? Lincoln was not a very attractive man and did not have a very refined voice.
How would Lincoln have looked and sounded on television and radio? The public may be stubborn to admit it, but it is true; the nation judges possible candidates upon appearances and performances. If a presidential candidate could not speak in front of large groups, he could never be elected in todays society. It would not matter that his or her policies were better than their running mates. Guaranteed by the first amendment, the media will always be there to inform the public and to decide what issues are important. Americans rely more and more on this media to judge how our leaders campaign, govern, shape public policy, and communicate their ideas. Being an independent check on all three branches of government, the media serves as a fourth branch of government.
However essential the media is to the balance of government, the public must learn to make their own opinions and not just adopt those portrayed by the press. Politics Essays.