The electronic media has much influence on politics in America. On the TV,
radio, internet, and press, politics are presented in many different ways and
with many different views. The media can be used to influence the people in
both positive and negative ways. This paper will outline these influences
and state examples in a variety of different platforms.
The media has created an impressive increase in literacy among people about
politics and political issues. Whether you are watching a presidential
debate or listening to the radio on a story about political issues, you will
hear a variety of words and terms that, without these forms of media, would
be foreign to us. Since the media is able to cover these issues, they are
able to interpret and describe then in ways that make it easy to understand.
Thus, political literacy has been greatly increased through the use of media.
Since people have a greater knowledge on politics and issues that concern
politics, they are able to understand the importance of voting in our
country. The media presents this importance of voting mainly though
advertisements. Between the presidential election of 1992 and 1996, there
was a higher national voting turnout by 9%. This means that the media has
positively influenced the voting statistics.
One of the negative effects of the medias influence on the people is creating
a difficulty to remain nuetral while reporting political news. When an issue
is addressed improperly through the media, it creates confusion and an
inability to take a certain side on an issue. For instance, if a news
reporter were to make negative references on a certain issue, the people
watching will be more influenced to take a negative approach to the issue.
This can cause much confusion since a different reporter could take a
positive approach and turn the peoples decision that way.
Yet another negative way that the media has been known to affect the people
is by falsely stating the news. It is hard to believe, but in the election
of 19??, (i'm sorry, i forgot the names and dates of this election. its the
one where Trueman won, but the newspaper says the other guy won. Please
forgive me and just do this sentence by yourself)
In this case, the press printed a newspaper reporting that Harry Trueman had
lost the election, when in fact he had won. This questioned both the
integrety of the press and the confidence of its readers.
One last negative influence of the media is when the media overplays a
certain issue. This can be related to in a very recent event. In the 2000
election between George Bush and Al Gore, a voting mishap put these two on
the headlines of every medium of media for weeks. The overkill of having
seen this story over and over with little or no developement made the people
lose interest. People stopped caring on what was a very serious issue.
There are many other instances where the press has destroyed very serious
issues, leaving the public with little interest.
With all the different forms of media bringing constant news directly to the
people, it creates many different opinions. It is still questionable whether
the electic media had brought forth change for the positive or negative in
peoples political sense. But it is certain that political awareness and
literacy has been heightened. After all that has been said, however, it will
be up to the people themselves to determine what to believe and how to
interpret what it is they media is telling us.
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