The government is the political direction and control exercised over the actions of the members, citizens, or inhabitants of communities, societies, and states. Media is the means of communication, such as radio, television, newspapers, magazines, and the internet which influence people broadly. The mainstream American media information presented to the public viewers is selected by the government. Outside of government institutions, no other unit has more influence in determining policy decisions and elections more than the mass media.
Although the framers of the Constitution could never have envisioned the increase of mass media that we enjoy today, they were very aware that the press would play a serious role in the growing democracy. It’s no coincidence that freedom of the press constitutes the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights. The media’s role in government goes back to the colonial era, when daily newspapers were the only source of political as well as other news for the colonists. The media has transformed intensively over the past 200 years.
Most of the change has occurred since the mid-1990s, with the advent of the Internet and all-news cable television channels. As these and other communication technologies keep on evolving at the speed of light, the role of the media in government will also continue to modify. The Internet has become an immense factor in the media, primarily the major social networks, because it communicates frankly without the filter of editors, publishers, and corporate parents similar to Viacom, Disney, Time-Warner, and General Electric.
In a democracy, the free flow of information, ideas, and opinions is vital. The media has three primary responsibilities: setting the agenda, investigating the institutions of government, and facilitating the exchange of ideas and opinions. Elected officials, nonelected government workers, and political candidates spend a considerable amount of time figuring out ways to shape media coverage. The following five techniques are most normally used. Staged events are the most common way to attract media coverage.
In 1994, the House Republicans had a “signing ceremony” on the Capitol steps to launch their “Contract with America” campaign theme. The event received enormous press coverage. An off-the-record conversation is another technique. Politicians, bureaucrats, and candidates have off-the-record conversations with reporters when they want to propagate certain information, but don’t want that information associated with them. Reporters usually attribute off-the-record comments to anonymous or unnamed sources.
Sound byte is where the most elected officials are skillful at giving “sound bites” (concise and colorful quotes) to reporters. Officials who consistently deliver the best sound bites usually receive the most coverage. New York senator Chuck Schumer is regarded as a terrific source of sound bites. From time to time government officials will float “trial balloons”, anonymous program or policy thoughts to the press in order to gauge the public’s feedback. Trial balloons allow officials to test ideas or potential appointments without taking responsibility for them.
During the recent stem-cell research debate, the White House floated a trial balloon about keeping the controversial research on embryonic stem cells legal, but decided against it after the administration’s conservative base reacted negatively. Last, there is a technique called leaks. Almost every day in Washington, confidential information is passed from government officials to the media. Leakers do this for one of two reasons. First, to cast a negative light on their opponents and second to strengthen their point of view on a particular matter among their colleagues.
Investigations in particular tend to be common with leaks. There were so many leaks during the Monica Lewinsky investigation that the leaks themselves became a separate legal inquiry. Although the Constitution promises freedom of the press, the government does regulate various media. Print media are for the most part unregulated, and newspapers and magazines can print almost anything as long as they don’t insult anyone. The Internet has also gone mostly unregulated; despite congressional efforts to restrict some controversial fulfillments. Broadcast media, however, are subject to the most government regulation.
Radio and television broadcasters must attain a license from the government because according to American law, the public owns the airwaves. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issues these licenses and is in charge of managing the airwaves. The FCC also acts as a police agency of the airwaves, and it can fine broadcasters for violating public decency principles on the air. The FCC can even revoke a broadcaster’s license, keeping him off the air permanently. For example, he FCC has fined radio host Howard Stern plentiful times for his use of profanity.
They also fined CBS greatly for Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” during the halftime performance at the Super Bowl in 2004. The government is involved in media doctrines. The Federal Communications Commission has also established rules for broadcasts relating to political campaigns. The equal time rule, which states that broadcasters have to supply the same broadcast time to all candidates for a specific office. The right of rebuttal, which requires broadcasters to make available an opportunity for candidates to reply to criticisms made against them.
A station cannot air an attack on a candidate and not succeed to give the objective of the attack a possibility to respond. The fairness doctrine, states that a broadcaster who airs a controversial program is required to provide time to air opposing views. The FCC has not obligated the fairness doctrine since 1985, and some claim that the FCC has taken a lax come up to enforcing the other regulations as well. The government has also regulated ownership of media outlets to make sure that no one broadcaster monopolizes the market.
Since the 1980s the government has loosened limitations on media possession, and Congress accepted the Telecommunications Act in 1996 to permit companies to possess even more media outlets. Due to the loosening of tenure boundaries, more and more media outlets are declining under the power of a few colossal corporations, an inclination called media consolidation. The Hearst, Knight Ridder, and Gannett corporations own the majority of the nation’s newspapers, whereas Clear Channel Communications owns numerous radio stations. Huge companies also have the major networks and other television stations.
The Walt Disney Corporation, for example, owns ABC and ESPN, along with the Disney Channel, and Viacom owns CBS and MTV. Meanwhile the Rupert Murdoch’s Media Corporation owns all of the Fox channels, several radio networks, satellite television providers, and newspapers in many countries. And Time-Warner owns dozens of magazines, counting Time, Life, and Sports Illustrated, as well as the CNN and Turner television networks. Critics challenge that media consolidation confines consumers’ choices because a small number of companies own all the media outlets.
They fight that consolidation is not competitive and that corporate owners might control or influence news coverage. Some critics also lament the homogenization of American culture due to media consolidation. Because radio and television formats have turn out to be more and more uniform, people all through the country receive the same broadcasts. It is not clear if the FCC has the ability to regulate cable television. The FCC is entitled to regulate those who broadcast over the airwaves because the people own the airwaves. Cable television is not sent through the airwaves.
Cables transmit the programs directly into people’s houses. Seemingly this means that cable television cannot be regulated, but some members of Congress have still required doing so. I have come to believe that media is important in the government because it’s the primary source of political information for most people, so it plays a big role in democracy. Also, I notice the way a point is transmitted affects how the message is received. Television, for example, is a visual medium, so viewers will surely be affected by images.
Plus, media tends to provide more facts and details than television. The media has massive power within the American Government because just about all Americans get their news from the media instead of from other people or other sources. Media coverage shapes how Americans recognize the world and what they consider to be important. Voters and politicians comparable must pay attention to the media. In the American political system, the media perform a number of functions important to the self-governing process.
The media reports the news, serves as a mediator between the government and the people, helps agree on which issues should be discussed, and keeps people energetically involved in society and politics. In the United States, the media plays a big role in socializing people to American society, culture, and politics. Much of what young people and immigrants learn about American culture and politics comes from magazines, radio shows, and television. Many people worry that juvenile people are exposed to too much violence and sex in the media, knowing the effect it will have on children’s views and development.
The media also provides a public forum for debates between political leaders. During campaigns, opposing candidates often broadcast advertisements and debate with each other on television. Many voters learn a great deal about the candidates and the issues by watching these ads and debates. Even during years without elections, though, the news media allows elected official to explain their actions via news stories and interviews. In this way the government has the power to control people though its subliminal messages. It has the ability to brainwash or give an image of what may be wrong or right through its regulations.