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Mass media in the united states essay

Free Press Critical for Free, Democratic Society An essay from the prestigious journal, Columbia Journalism Reviewnotes the crucial role of free media and the need for public education in society to maintain democracy: But the founders knew that a free press would be worth little if the people could not read it, so public education became one of the great obsessions of the leaders of the early republic.

Instead, he wrote, education was vital to the maintenance of a free society. This concern with education was widespread in the founding generation, and Thomas Jefferson famously listed the establishment of the University of Virginia as one of the three great accomplishments of his life mass media in the united states essay omitted his presidency from the list.

But with business groups looking to schools essentially to educate workers for a complex industrial society an inherent conflict was brewing. This redefinition of citizenship has been part of a larger push toward privatizing much that used to be public — and, in particular, governmental — in American society. It is a measure of their success that faith in democratic government has largely been replaced by faith in the market.

It was the senior President Bush who urged upon the nation a less expansive model of civic engagement… Implicit in this was the notion … isolated individuals should try to do good — in isolation.


Earlier generations had expressed different ideals. In his inaugural address in 1941, as the threat of world war drew ever closer to the United States, Franklin D. Sixty years later, after the September 11 attacks had shaken the nation, President George W.

Bush urged Americans to pull together by going out and spending money, or taking a trip to Disney World. Consumerism had become the common cause.

The mainstream media too have seen similar transformations. Pressures to make profit require more and more avoidance of controversial and sensitive issues that could criticize aspects of corporate America or reduce the buying moods of readers. In doing so, much of the agendas are driven by government and business interests, with less criticism. Over time, as people unwittingly get accustomed to a lower quality media, propaganda becomes easier to disseminate.

The proper procedure is to drill them home by constantly presupposing them, so that they become the very condition for discourse. The US is no exception to this. As the following quote summarizes, the role of the media from the view of politics is often less discussed: George Seldes, a reporter for over seventy years, points out that there are three sacred cows still with us today: The media refuses to discuss its consistent failure to inform the masses of this ongoing control.

It has been in place for so long that few are aware of how it came about or that it is even still there. But many people are intelligent, moral, and idealistic; if the media would discuss the true history of these three sacred cows, that control would quickly disappear.

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There are many mass media in the united states essay in which the media is used to obtain such support and conformity. This is a large topic so this section will be updated from time to time. It is normally thought — and expected — that US press freedom would rank top in the world. Yet, for many years, it has been a lot lower than the high expectation. For 2011, the US ranked just 47th. For a while, under the Obama Administration it was looking better, but recent events such as the various Occupy protest movements and how journalists have been treated has resulted in the recent drops in the rankings.

Back to top Uninformed population means harmful policies can go unaccountable Many US policies, especially foreign policies, have come under much sharp criticism from around the world as well as from various segments within American society. As a result, some fear that they are running the risk of alienating themselves from the rest of the world. A revealing quote hints that media portrayal of issues can affect the constructive criticism of American foreign policy: Jonathan Power, America is in Danger of Alienating the WorldMarch 3, 1999 The quote above also summarizes how America is viewed in the international community and how some of their actions are portrayed in the United States.

International news coverage from US media is very poor. In a strict sense, the American media did not in 2007 cover the world, says the Pew report. Beyond Iraq, only two countries received notable coverage last year — Iran and Pakistan. This non-coverage of global issues is worrying because so many American citizens end up getting a narrow view of many important world issues.

In such a situation, it is easier for propagandists to say things that are harder to question and seem real. The majority of US citizens still get their news from television, where limited headlines and sound-bites reduce the breadth, depth and context available. And while the Internet has surpassed traditional newspapers as a prime source of newsthe diversity of news is still small; a lot of content for Internet sites come from a few traditional sourcesusually those working in struggling newspaper companies and media outlets.

It looked at views in a number of countries, including some in western Europe, and some in Muslim countries, and found in all of them a growing mistrust of the United Statesparticularly President George Bush. On many issues there was a wide gap between respondents in the U. This divide in perceptions is large to say the least. But why is there such a gap? Nancy Snow, an assistant professor of political science describes one of her previous jobs as being a propagandist for the U.

In an interview, she also describes how Americans and the rest of the world often view the American media: Nancy Snow, Propaganda Inc.: Behind the curtain at the U. Long before the Soviet Union broke up, a group of Russian writers touring the United States were astonished to find, after reading the newspapers and watching television, that almost all the opinions on all the vital issues were the same.

Media in the United States

In our country, said one of them, to get that result we have a dictatorship. We tear out their fingernails. Here you have none of that. How do you do it? The people of this nation are the ones that can help shape the policies of the most powerful nation, thereby affecting many events around the world.

For that to happen, they need to be able to receive objective reporting. An integral part of a functioning democracy is that people are able to make informed choices and decisions.

However, as the 2000 Election testified, there has been much amiss with the media coverage and discourse in general. It has eroded the central requirement of a democracy that those who are governed give not only their consent but their informed consent. Note that in the above quote, the book was originally published in 1983, but is still relevant to today and applicable to the 2000 Elections in the United States and the various controversies that accompanied it.

Back to top US Media and War on Terror Since the terrible attacks by terrorists on September 11, 2001 in America and the resulting war on terrorism, various things that have happened that mass media in the united states essay impacted the media as well as the rest of the country.

One example was the appointing of an advertising professional, Charlotte Beers as undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs. Beers' task now was to work her magic on the greatest branding challenge of all: Beers eventually stepped down in March 2003 due to health reasons.

As Klein also pointed out, the trouble has been that the image to be portrayed is not seen by the rest of the world as necessarily being a fair portrayal: Most critics of the U. Instead, they point to U. One of the most famous media personalities in American news, Dan Rather of CBS had admitted that there has been a lot of self-censorship and that the U. In that context, the lack of mainstream media courage risks further government and corporate media unaccountability.

For more about the war on terror and the attacks on the U. But deeper than self-censorship, has been the systemic and institutional censorship that goes on in the media on all sorts of issues. This has been going on for decades.

The Mainstream Media Censors Itself There is no formal censorship in the USA, but there is what some call Market Censorship — that is, mainstream media do not want to run stories that will offend their advertisers and owners. In this way, the media end up censoring themselves and not reporting on many important issues, including corporate practices.

For some examples of mass media in the united states essay, check out the Project Censored web site. Another effect of these so-called market forces at work is that mainstream media will go for what will sell and news coverage becomes all about attracting viewers. Yet the fear of losing viewers from competition seems so high that many report the exact same story at the very same time!

Objective coverage gets a back seat. A friend of mine [of journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski] was working in Mexico for various US television channels.

  1. Getting up to the minute information like this gave Russian immigrants or those who have family in Russia, somewhat peace of mind. Over time, as people unwittingly get accustomed to a lower quality media, propaganda becomes easier to disseminate.
  2. This redefinition of citizenship has been part of a larger push toward privatizing much that used to be public — and, in particular, governmental — in American society. Henry Holcomb, who is president of the Newspaper Guild of Greater Philadelphia and a journalist for 40 years, said that newspapers had a clearer mission back when he began reporting.
  3. On many issues there was a wide gap between respondents in the U. Most critics of the U.
  4. Yet, for many years, it has been a lot lower than the high expectation. The mainstream media too have seen similar transformations.

I met him in the street as he was filming clashes between students and police. Without stopping filming he replied: I just get the shots. I send them to the channel, and they do what they want with them. Even honest journalists from the major networks can find that their stories and investigations may not get aired for political reasonsrather than reasons that would question journalistic integrity.

Some journalists unwittingly go with the corporate influences while others who challenge such pressures often face difficulties. John Prestage is also worth quoting on this aspect too: Even some mainstream journalists are sounding the alarm…. Henry Holcomb, who is president of the Newspaper Guild of Greater Philadelphia and a journalist for 40 years, said that newspapers had a clearer mission back when he began reporting.

That mission was to report the truth and raise hell. But corporate pressures have blurred this vision, he said. Some advertisers kill some stories and promote others, she said, asserting that there is an overwhelming influence of corporations and advertisers on broadcast and print news reporting.

The trends are all bad, worse and worse, Nichols said. Newspapers and broadcast journalists are under enormous pressures to replace civic values with commercial values. He labeled local television news a cesspool. Shredding the First AmendmentOnline Journal, 7 November 2002 It is not just corporate pressures that can impact the media, but political and cultural pressures, too.

The Effect Of Media on Politics - Political Science Essay

For example, Dan Rather was mentioned above noting that journalists were pressured by patriotic fever following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks to resist asking tough questions that might criticize America too much. At a media conference in March 2007, Dan Rather reiterated his concerns regarding the state of journalism in the US.

So many journalists—there are notable exceptions—have adopted the go-along-to-get-along attitudehe said.