Politics and the Media
Politics and the media have always been involved with each other, with media strongly setting the standard for what politics are important. Our perspective of the real world is based on the issues the media makes aware to us. It is not known which influences more, but there are definitely two sides to the story. Many studies have been done to decide but each comes out with different answers. I think that the media has more of an impact on politics than does politics on the media. The two have always gone hand and hand. Conflicting each other in newspaper and television, but generally enjoying each other's company.
It is the role of the mass media to keep the general public informed and up to date with current news and events in their community, state, country, and around the world. In politics, the media can either help or damage a politician by changing the public's opinion. Many people depend heavily on television as their source of information where they see or hear about political issues and events, because television is the single most powerful source of world communication and nightly newscasts are the most frequently watched source of information for the public. The mass media is everywhere we turn, from television sets, to radio, to newspapers, and now the Internet.
In their role, are they actually giving us the right message or is it all false, like in tabloids, which are created just to sell? Most of the public believes that the top priority of the media is to find and report important information to the public. Few believe that it is to give readers and viewers what they ask for. The media sets the standard, and many believe that this creates an unfair society. They determine what people believe to be important issues. When the media focuses on a problem, the public's opinions on that problem then become influenced and this is also true for the president. The president reacts by responding to changes in attention to the media. The media may not be successful in telling us what to think, but they are successful in showing us what to think about. Media coverage can affect many attitudes on the importance of certain issues.
Presidential elections and campaigns have always been important in the media and to the public. The media creates a political world that is the basis of the public's knowledge and the later behavior, such as voting for the president or any public official. The themes and issues that are shown in the media are important to viewers. Those that are stressed become even more influential when it comes to choosing a candidate. Presidential approval is strongly influenced by how the media portrays the candidate to the public. For example, during Clinton's second run for office, he received bad publicity based on his problems with monogamy, even though his prior economic performance was exceptional. The ways in which people used to evaluate him on were influenced by what the media had to say. Televised advertising, televised candidate events, and news articles also affect the preferences and opinions of the voters.
Many times the media often bring up the worst in a public official or candidate as seen by that of President Clinton. They cover unimportant issues that are irrelevant to everyday life and also overplay or cover the issue too much. Another example is with the Texas Governor, George W. Bush. The main issue on the media's mind was the rumor of his past cocaine use. They should have been covering his views on political issues. Very few of the major evening newscasts deal with politics, half of the stories were dealing with Bush and his use in his younger age and Clinton's marriage. The media should be filling the public's knowledge with the political issues at stake and who is likely to be the next president of this political nation.
Coverage of a political event or campaign also plays a significant role in the eye of the public and also to the candidate. Candidates who do well in receiving more attention from the news and the greater the activity by a candidate, the more likely the candidate will receive more coverage. Elections are influenced by two factors. The first being the strength and political skills of the candidate, the second being how the media interprets the candidate's performance, particularly on television. Media dependency is very important to think about when it comes to political communication. Due to our democratic government and free speech the media can basically due almost anything they want as long as it abides by the FCC. The FCC is the government's way to regulate the media. They censor what is broadcasted on television and over the radio. Because of the various ways there are to communicate with ease, censorship is extremely minimal.
In conclusion, the media has a huge and particular impact on society and politics. The media does a lot to set the policy standard and influence how the public and those in political office understand things. Politicians not only use the media to influence us viewers, but are they are also influenced by it. The media affects our every day way of thinking and the politics that surround us. What they see as important, we do also. Therefore, in my opinion, the news media sets the standard for what is important in politics.