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The Role of Mass Media in the Modern Democracy

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Media is one of the tools or channels of communication used to store and convey information or data from one source to the other. In the modern democracy, media play important functions. Mass media is considered essential in the modern democracy. When the media is given freedom of expression by the government. Madison argues that democratic government requires informed and educated society for it to work effectively (166). He further affirms that democracy also imposes problem and require an institutional solution. The 1789 constitution of United States of America was meant to give the solution regarding the democracy.

According to Schlenker, liberalism believes in progressiveness whereby the social standard of society is based on equalities where social inequality portray failing of the society instead of individuals (002). They further connote that conservative believes on traditional development of the society which represent the overall wisdom of ages, which enhance to meet the needs that affect culture and environmental and therefore, there is a need to preserve it. Conservatives individuals resist changing while liberalists are open-minded on the way they think and view things such as politics, social and economic situations. Despite mass media being effective in playing important roles to the public, it has been biased more toward progressive-liberal values and conservative values.

According to Lichter, 85% of the journalist who graduated at Columbia University in the year 1982, they identified themselves as liberal while 11 percent of the graduates were conservative (48). Mass media biases occur in various ways such as when the media attack the particular politician, individual aspirant or certain ideology. Other forms of bias include corporate biases which involve selecting stories to please mass media 's corporates and mainstream bias which entails reporting what other media are reporting in order to avoid reporting stories that might offend someone despite them being facts. Journalist mainly concentrates much on covering and printing stories based on opinion rather than facts. This has not gone well with some individuals in the United State. This is because their affairs have been interfered with, causing harm to their day to day activities. In the United State of America, media play an important role in the system of government whereby it acts as a watchdog (McLuhan and Marshall, (20). It checks government power through investigating and reporting on government and affairs affecting the public. The modern mass media has also facilitated socialization role through presenting information and enhancing cultural values to the public.

Normally, most mass media are the private organization whose main purpose is to make money but are also expected to serve public roles such as informing the public on matters regarding government and non-government affairs. Watchdog and educative role are not the main objective of mass media but are to make money through providing entertainment, advertisement and also providing information. In the early days in America, mass media was not meant to convey fair press. Individuals and government officials influenced how the press would write and print about their affairs. This was a libel law. According to Reyes, libel involves the action of exposing individuals in hatred manner, causing injuries to his business or to his profession (001). The early federal law limited the freedom of press due to its biases. This was even after the congress was prohibited from passing any law that would restrict freedom of the media.

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The congress passed the law to prohibit the freedom of mass media so as to prevent an unnecessary attack to them and to the prominent individuals in America. In around 1900, the press started to change ways in which they reported events. This was promoted by Joseph Pulitzer who started journalism school at Columbia University (641-42). Joseph Pulitzer foresees the important of training journalist to be professional in their work. This promoted the quality of the coverage and the way the information is delivered to the audience without distortion. The journalist was trained to be objective, to avoid biases and separating facts from public opinion. By including reporter 's name in the newspaper facilitated in control of biases because the reporters would be held accountable for their reports. The public beliefs about government and politics influence what the mass media report the events. When people are provided with relevant information, they can use ideology to enable them to make sense and decision out of that provided information. According to Lenz and Holman, ideologies involve being committed to act on values (190).

Mass media use conservative biases whereby they use government and non-government corporate to accomplish their objectives or rather their goal but mostly committed to the private sector. According to a Washington post, there have been changes in the way media have been biased. The writer argues that, occurrence of biases have been seen during the campaign trail. One of the republican politicians Rick Santorum accused the New York Times reporter of being biased while Mitt Romney also claimed that the press had been so biased to him in the general election. The reporter argues that recent polls have shown that public has low confidence pertaining to the news media. 77% of the people who were interviewed by Pew Research Center in 2016, indicated that media show their biases by tending to favor one side compared to a research done in 1985 which indicated 53 percent. This shows public confidence objectivity of the media.

Over the past decades, mass media have been favoring one party. Recently in the ongoing campaign in the United State of America, cases of progressive -Liberal biases have been reported. One of the contested CNBC debate was affected by the way the reporters did their coverage. The republican candidate felt attacked by the CNBC reporters through questioning. According to republican candidates, the reporters were liberal. Although many reporters in major media responded to the claims, they responded with defenses claiming that the republican became upset due to the tough question in which they were asked concerning American affairs and matters pertaining their manifestos. These responses were wrong because the reporters potrayed biasness though the way in which they asked the questions to the Republican candidates and slanting their coverage.

In this scenario, even though the journalist are supposed to be effective in the way they do their coverage, some of them tend to be partisan causing ineffective in coverage. This has an impact on public opinion because the voters will judge the candidate according to the way information from media reaches them concerning the response of the given canditate. The figure below shows the scenario in which media showed biasness.

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The Role of Mass Media in the Modern Democracy. (2022, Jun 29). Edubirdie. Retrieved March 5, 2024, from
“The Role of Mass Media in the Modern Democracy.” Edubirdie, 29 Jun. 2022,
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The Role of Mass Media in the Modern Democracy [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Jun 29 [cited 2024 Mar 5]. Available from:
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