Sample Communication Essay Paper on Mass Media and American Politics

Effects of Mass Media on Politics, Elections, and Governance

Introduction

The American political system entered a new period of high technical politics after the concluded elections. Compared to the other presidents, president-elect Donald Trump lacks political experience as he has not held any political seat or served in the military. He is however globally recognized as a successful businessman. The behavior of the citizens and policymakers and the political agenda has therefore been changing and increasingly being shaped by technology with social media being utilized especially by president-elect to communicate various agendas to be undertaken by his new government. For example, he has been discussing his cabinet picks and nominees through his social media platforms especially twitter. Television, magazines, radio, and newspaper have also been popular means of communication as they reach out and profoundly influence elites and the masses on political developments as the president-elect plans to take oath of office (Graber, & Dunaway, 2014). This paper will describe historical developments of the mass media in relation to news coverage of politics and the impacts on presidential elections and government.

Effects of Mass Media on Politics, Presidential Elections, and Governance

The control of mass media has determined modern political successes. For example, politicians’ images have often been regarded as appropriate indicators of their power and influence during day to day governing activities. This has led politicians to be careful and limit on what they report on in order to guide and control the media’s focus. They often stage media events that are carefully scripted especially during the elections. During the concluded elections, the presidential candidates received massive media coverage. This led some media platforms to peddle numerous news bytes that were true, half-true, and outright lies in attempts to influence election results. Thus, mass media did not acknowledge that each presidential candidate had equal chances of winning the presidency as various platforms were biased (Graber, & Dunaway, 2014).

For example, Joseph Weber authored an article published by FOX claiming Hillary Clinton was gaining more support than her rival Donald Trump. The author also claimed that democratic voters had been registered in larger numbers in various states compared to republican voters. More so, Joseph discussed the fact that Hillary Clinton’s chances of winning the race in greater length would deny Donald Trump the opportunity to be the forty fifth leader of United States.  Based on the article, it was evident that Joseph Weber was supporting Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid. This is despite the fact that as a news reporter, he ought to be unbiased as his role is to write news shaping peoples’ opinions during the elections by being fair. Mass media is an important tool and platform of information that can make or break a nation depending on how people access and interpret the news. Thus, Joseph should have acknowledged that his role was to help people accept and embrace the results of the election by being unbiased. He however proves that a large part of mass media devotes so much effort and energy in influencing publics’ opinions towards the elections, presidency, and governance (Weber, 2016).

In nineteenth century, daily newspaper played the largest role of informing the public. The radio and television since the first half of the twentieth century have allowed news people to work in an environment of cynicism as they believe politicians do not tell the whole truth or story. The two media platforms have also encouraged investigative journalists to strive in unearthing scandals against political leaders. For example, various articles were authored and published across websites discussing Hillary’s private email server and Trump’s leaked conversation with Billy Bush. The articles contributed to greater public cynicism and negativism about the two presidential candidates and politics at large (Graber, & Dunaway, 2014). This affirms that mass media shapes political communication at different points in American history

American mass media is independent and free when providing the public with journalistic content. It is also dependent on revenues gathered through advertisements as they sustain business activities. There are various mass media sources acknowledged as well established playing the major role of shaping the publics’ opinions on politics and governance. Such media platforms ensure the best reporters are assigned the responsibility of gathering unbiased news affecting the nation. Thus, they ensure stories reported or published are drawn from situations reporters have substantial control rather than from spontaneous events or reporters’ individual analysis. Consequently, technologies have been advancing enabling the media to pass information with greater speed. Due to technological growth, members of the public can hear sound bites of a political speech less than ten seconds after being broadcasted. This however has not hindered news reporting to contain little explicit ideological bias or partisan (Paul, & Dimaggio, 2015). As a result, news people ought to select stories to cover and the degrees to report them in order to avoid distorting the reality due to existing social, political, and economic pressures that encourage publication of biased news. They should strive to attract readers’ interests by mirroring the reality.

Members of the public have been striving to influence government’s policy agendas. For example, they confront government officials and policymakers with the problems they face and expect them to implement policies solving the issues. Political parties, interest groups, bureaucratic agencies, and politicians however continue to push for their agendas and priorities. Policy entrepreneurs also invest in their political capital depending on how the media will cover and report their ideas on governmental agenda. This proves the mass media is a link between the people and policymakers. Thus, it has a profound impact on political agendas, policies, and decisions. According to Oswald, mass media is required to fulfill the watchdog function in order to help keep the government small. This however has not hindered the media from being biased against persons holding office as most news people often strive to expose them. As a result, the public access the biased news with skepticism which places constraints on the government adversely affecting social, economic, and political growth (Oswald, 2009).

The American political process has been embracing individualism as mass media especially television support it. This has led political candidates to run for offices on their own as they appeal to the voters directly through mass media. Thus, mass media focuses on the candidates as individuals rather than as political groups prompting political parties to decline as the politicians’ personalities are deemed more important. Consequently, information society has been growing bringing about corresponding rise of informed societies. As a result, important policy issues are treated as superficial as mass media does not provide the public with sufficient information to encourage political participation and enhance political awareness. This is because mass media strives to supply the public with what the people want. More so, media platforms are in the profit making business. Thus, they strive to appeal to the maximum number of people. Understanding the mass media through these aspects can therefore prove that it is the link between the people and political policymakers (Oswald, 2009).

According to Graber and Dunaway (2014), mass media frame stories by choosing a broad organizing theme in selecting, discussing, and linking elements of the news to particular scenes, actions, documents, and characters. For example, Chalian David authored an article published by CNN focusing on states that were showing great support for either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump during the concluded presidential elections. The author is a political director at CNN. Thus, his political analysis published under CNN which is considered among the most influential political websites was bound to influence voters’ preferences towards either democrats or republicans (Chalian, 2016).

As a result, he had to ensure he is not biased. He however authored an article prompting readers to acknowledge that voters were greatly supporting Hillary Clinton. Thus, he influenced publics’ opinion in order to garner massive support for Hillary Clinton rather than Donald Trump. As a result, his communication system contributed towards increasing publics’ cynicism and disillusions with regards to presidential elections (Chalian, 2016). This affirms that journalists and news people can fail to find ways of writing reports and stories that are unbiased. It also proves that they can fail to replace cynical tones with perspectives that can assist voters, politicians, and citizens to be more engaged. As a result, some people end up avoiding politics as they view the mass media reports relating to social, economic, and political growth with disbelief and disapproval with regards to campaigns and other events hosted by politicians. Consequently, people continue to escape from political participation and public affairs by preferring personalized media.

Despite David’s political analysis, Donald Trump won the presidential election. Voter however had read several journalistic materials that had insinuated Hillary Clinton would win. As a result, there were demonstrations among voters who believed Hillary Clinton had won. Some of the demonstrators claimed the president-elect should not be identified as the nation’s leader. Recently, reports have been published that the elections were hacked in order to ensure Donald Trump won. Consequently, the media has reported that the approval rates for the president elect have been the lowest compared to the last five presidents that have taken office before him (Paul, & Dimaggio, 2015). Mass media has therefore been greatly influencing how the public perceive president elect. The media has portrayed the president elect as a businessman who lacks political experience and expertise to lead the nation. Consequently, the public including politicians, civil groups, and other interest groups have asserted they will not be attending the inauguration ceremony. Thus, mass media has not relied on existing communication systems to encourage and stimulate citizen engagement in the concluded presidential elections. The biased reports published with regards to president elect have also been discouraging the citizens from willingly giving him an opportunity to lead the nation to socio-economic and socio-political growth (Oswald, 2009).

Conclusion,

It is evident that mass media has been consistently ideologically biased. This is especially in reporting political news as witnessed during the concluded presidential elections as several media platforms were biased in reporting and discussing the two candidates. Regulations should therefore be implemented in order to ensure sanity is restored in mass media communication systems. Mass media platforms should therefore ensure they inform the public on political, social, economic, and governance changes by portraying policymakers fairly and equally. Consequently, governmental institutions, functions, and changes shaping political news will be unbiased and positively published, reported, and discussed during public debates.

References

 Chalian, D. (2016). Road to 270: CNN’s Latest Electoral College Map. cnn.com. Retrieved on 18th Jan from: http://edition.cnn.com/2016/10/27/politics/road-to-270-electoral-college-map-october-26/

Graber, A. D., & Dunaway, J. (2014). Mass media and American politics. CQ Press, SAGE Publications.

Oswald, A. K. (2009). Mass media and the transformation of American politics. Marquette Law Review, 77(2), 385-414.

Paul, S., & Dimaggio, A. (2015). Crashing the tea party: Mass media and the campaign to remake American politics. Routledge.

Weber, J. (2016). Early voting suggests tight race in key states despite Clinton camp boast. Foxnews.com. Retrieved on 18th Jan from: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/10/25/early-voting-suggests-tight-race-in-key-states-despite-clinton-camp-boast.html