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Overview of The Role of Media in Politics

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Current political achievement depends on the control of mass correspondences, for example, television, radio, paper, magazines, which are all essential hotspots for the general population to remain educated on day by day exercises of the American republic. The American political system has continuously formed into a period where the conduct of legislators, residents, and government issues, is shaped by innovation. With new research on innovation, there is now social media, permitting social networking sites, like Twitter or Instagram, and print media; The Washington Post, NY Times, etc. affecting the American individuals and governing body. The basic role of mass communications is basically to give information and give in tell when critical events happen around the world. Media is important for the American people and politicians because it frames the democratic process such as: reporting the news, sharing the current issues that need to be re-examined, and allowing individuals to be actively engaged in governmental issues. However, the drawback from media is that it impacts the manner in which the general population may respond, and the media forms public opinion. This shapes the political conduct of individuals and it may affect casting a ballot. It can be contended that media is a decent asset to aid in governmental issues, yet it impacts the perspective of the general society. Thus, the nature of media coverage matters because it has full control in our government. For this reason, media is controlling the news, public opinion, and there is evidence of media bias.

Since the year 1956, television has been a vital role for many politicians and it was the beginning of of numerous adjustments for the candidates running their campaigns. In the article, “Changing Role of Mass Media in American Politics” by Edwin Emery, professor in the University of Minnesota, argues that the technique of whistle-blowing was less utilized as politicians noticed that television was getting voters. He shares three whistle-blowing campaign cases that are from Harry Truman, Richard Nixon, and William Jennings Bryan. In 1896, before TV was used for campaigns, print media was utilized, and it determined the success of the candidates campaigns. The political campaign managers strategies at that time, we’re making Truman, Nixon, and Bryan travel across the country either on their own railroad car, train, or jet to make newspapers follow their campaigns. However, it changed when Nixon was running against the democrat John F. Kennedy in the 1960’s because he was the first candidate to use television to campaign. Emery states that “ Nixon’s loss came a rapid realignment of thinking about the role of mass media in American political campaigns. Television was in; whistle-stopping was out; print media were in eclipse”(86). Then, in Emery studied he found that in the 1976 presidential primaries the focus was on getting “coverage in television news, programs, television interviews, and newspaper stories and pictures” (87). The examples, he uses is Ronald Regan who lost in the 1976 primaries against President Ford. He shares the exposure of Regan campaign strategy versus Ford to win North Carolina, and found that Regan did “30-minute statewide TV broadcast the week before voting [and used] 30-second minutes spot advertisements” (88). Also, he shares the amount of money other candidates spent on advertising, using the television, or broadcast; Udall spent half of $350,000, Carter spent half of $100,000, and Ford budget was $450,000 (88). These candidates used television because they noticed the voters were paying attention. Emery states the research of how major elections were known and how important television was in voters making decisions. In step 5, he shares from the research he found that “ television had exposed, and perhaps ‘activated’, large numbers of persons with low degrees of party loyalty and interest in politics” (90). This is when television started playing a pivotal role in almost every campaign and even till this day is how many American obtain more information about candidates. Emery finishes his argument of the key role of television by sharing influential moments in campaigns and the changes in elections. The influential moment on TV, is Richard Nixons, Checker’s speech that received 25 million views and the Kennedy vs. Nixon campaign (91). Both of these moments are important for different reason, but it’s recognized because of the selective use of television and “Nixon was criticized for the poor use of television in the 1960 campaign” (92). The changes in television use in election was because politicians had an ideal time to be on TV and there goal was to be on 2-3 minutes (93). This is all important because the usage of television brought in advantages for the politicians and for the voters. Television allows voters to be publicly aware of situations since news media films debates and politicians viewpoints are filmed. Television also has allowed for many social changes to happen. In the article, “Making the News: Movement Organizations, Media Attention, and the Public Agenda” by Kenneth T. Andrews and Neal Caren, both professors at the University of North Carolina argue that news media starts movements of social change. They share two factors that makes media known, standing and preferred framing. Standing by definition “is the group is not only the object of media attention, but is also treated as an important actor with voice in the media” (843). While , preferred framing is when politicians share their thoughts on a certain issue and there is no misreporting on what they claimed. In their conclusion, they found that what is covered on television that viewers are willing to watch are large crowds protesting and events that are organized. News media reporters, film protest, are large events because they target events that will bring social issues that will provide new insights and spark movements.

In American legislative issues, journalistic prejudice happens on every mass medium communication. There is concern about the effects of journalistic preference since it impacts one’s particular viewpoint whether it’s on an issue or on the political competitors. The researchers from the University of Vienna, Jakob-Moritz Eberl, Hajo G. Boomgaarden, and Markus Wagner, in “One Bias Fits All? Three kinds of Media Bias and Their Effects on Party Preferences” contends that media influences the public’s voting and voters that necessarily don’t have a party identification are more likely to be manipulated in media bias. Eberl, Boomgaarden, and Wagner classify three types of media bias: visibility, tonality, and agenda. They characterized visibility bias as one political candidate is getting more media coverage over there competitor on papers, TV, magazines, and it’s the aftereffect of the political competitor having comparative qualities with the author (1128).This is a negative bias because the writer essentially will only compose positive things that he’s willing to share about the political candidate and voters need to discover how they feel about the applicants running, so the journalist writing on specific subjects could change a voter’s sentiment. Tonality bias was defined as “evaluations present in media coverage are systematically more favorable to one political party compared to other parties” (1128). This bias is when the media in partisan politics will share good or bad statements made from either party. An example of this bias is our current President Donald Trump, has social media, and some of his tweets receive backlash, and the media will make a scandal and the American individuals will get involved and voice their opinions on the particular statement. Lastly, agenda bias is where government official will be featured in talk shows or have an interview that features specific subjects that they are willing to talk about because they know it will win the general population if they discuss their personal viewpoints on gun control or the economy. The bias occurs because “journalist’s or editors decide to select to ignore specific news stories” (1129). In their study of the Austria election campaign, they discovered that voter is presented with more to tonality bias and visibility bias has no effect on voters. The tonality bias occurs more often to voters because their conclusions change because what they read, hear, view, or discuss are likely to change when it’s about a topic they’re interested in. Similarly, James N. Druckman and Michael Parkin, in the article, “The Impact of Media Bias: How Editorial Slant Affects Voters”, argue that media coverage impacts voters. In their examination they centered around two news organizations, Star Tribune and the St. Paul Pioneer Press, concentrating on the Election Day leave survey from the 2000 Minnesota Senate Campaign. This study is important because it shows how the newspaper creates a slant and how journalists favor a particular politician. The candidates running for the campaign was Rod Grams, a republican and Mark Dayton a democrat. In their analysis, the Star Tribune favored Grams and the Pioneer Press remained neutral (1036). However the Pioneer Press, at that time was ‘suing Grams for a copyright infringement .. [showing] no bias, but it caused a slant” (1036). Now looking at the percentages of media coverage from the Star Tribune gave 23% of media to Gram, 22% to Dayton, and 55% to both (1038). Although, it not a huge difference in percentage, the Star Tribune favored Grams, so its editorial slant because the paper wrote positively about him. The Pioneer Press gave 24% of media coverage to Grams, 25% to Dayton, and 51% to both (1038). However, the Pioneer Press did remain neutral, it did have a bad light on Grams because of the situation of suing. Dayton did win the election and it proves to show that the amount of media coverage on print media matters because the daily readers of the newspapers will reflect and vote on certain conditions discussed. Media news reporting needs balance in general and doesn’t stay unbiased and its appeared in almost every election.

Furthermore, the United States politics are using technology and social networks to connect with the public. Media allows for the American people to engage and be aware of what’s going on with the upcoming or current policies, but media somehow shapes are government and candidates’ campaigns. In the article, “How the News Media activate Public Expression and Influence National Agendas” by Gary King, Benjamin Schneer, and Ariel White argue that the, “collective public expression has a powerful impact on the behavior of government officials and the public policies they promulgate” (1).In their study, they explored different avenues regarding forty-eight news media outlets doing various examinations that comprised of: picking 11 policies that are commonly discussed among the American people such as race, climate change, abortion and so forth, making the outlets write on a similar theme, and picking a day for publication (2). On the first day of the experiment they examined the national conversation on one of the issues and as shown in figure 2 model, there was 4,442 post made and it was 19.4% increase from when the article was published (2). Nonetheless, as every one of the 11 articles were distributed, the quantity of post continued diminishing as weeks passed by. In their third figure based off subgroups, it shows that “among those able to participate in social media; even if they do interact with each other, the evidence indicates that they are being influenced in similar ways by the news media” (4). Their conclusion showed implication that the news media whether its fake news, the people take what they read or hear into account and influences public policy. Additionally, news media impacts the acts of policymakers.The researchers, Kevin Arceneaux, Martin Johnson, René Lindstädt, and Ryan J. Vander Wielen, in, “The influence of News Media on Political Elites: Investigating Strategic Responsiveness in Congress”, contend that policymakers use the way the public perceives news media to create the public policy. For their research, they used data from the 1990s Fox News Channel because it was known as being conservative and was the election during that time period was polarized. The utilization of this news channel was to show their hypothesis of strategic responsiveness which was the manner by which the lawmakers utilized the voters sentiments to get ready for the election and their campaign. Politicians are being aware of the voters opinions because, “ voters are more likely to contact elected officials about pending legislation” (2). Their evidence found that the Fox News channel for the presidential 2000 election made “members of Congress to marginally reduce their support for President Clinton”(8). Since Fox news media, upheld the republican party for the 2000 political decision, the watchers changed their conclusions on not being in favor of Clinton, which is shown in the digram(8). Their conclusion found that the members in Congress will change their positions because of media shift towards one political party during elections. The news media influencing policymakers and showing favoritism towards the Democrats or Republicans is wrong because the media shows bias.

The role of media in politics can be a positive or negative thing for politicians and for the voters. In general, media is a big platform that allows communication and is a site for people to express their opinions freely. The way media works in politics, is primarily it persuades the voters and politicians because national conversation is mostly done online and voters share their ideas on certain issues. It can be beneficial for politicians because thats how voters get to know who they are and their stance on policies, but the media can be harsh because of the criticism and bias they can be towards one candidate. Overall, the media allows for voters to be involved in politics and the media allows for politicians to know more about what the people want. 

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Overview of the Role of Media in Politics. (2022, February 10). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 18, 2022, from
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