The media has made significant contributions to all facets of culture. Broadcasting, publishing, and the internet are also forms of media divisions. The media has a tendency to sway people’s opinions by disseminating knowledge to the masses (Bardes, 2008, p. 194). The media sets the agenda for people to think about, interpret, and make educated choices through its content. Politics is one of the subjects on which the media reports extensively. This paper would explore the role of the media in culture and the various consequences of media in today’s politics. These consequences can be both positive and negative. Role of media
The place of media in the society and unearth the various effects of media in today’s politics. These effects are both positive and negative.
Role of media
The place of media in the society is inevitable due to its contribution. One of the major roles of media is to educate the public. The media ensures that the public is well informed and educated. The programs that are prepared and aired on mainstream media are geared towards educating the audience. The news segment informs and updates the people on the day to day happenings in the society (Satterfield, 2016). News move faster on the social media catching the attention of a vast group of audience. The present media cannot be compared to what used to happen in the ancient times. The digital era has provided a major boost to the social media making it more reliable when it comes to information and education.
The media has a great impact on the decisions that people make. It influences people’s decisions, opinions and how they think. The news and information relayed through the media forms the opinion in many people’s minds. In the long run, they impact on the decisions they make in their daily lives. Media is very powerful when it comes to influence. The youth are greatly influenced by the media in their search for relevance and acceptance (Mughal,2013). The media presents ideal world, people, situations and solutions that are welcomed by the youth. This makes them to be lured so easily into the ideal world. It is therefore necessary to point out that media contributes positively to the society but at the same times ruins the society hence damaging society norms, values or culture.
Positive effects of media on politics
Media enjoys a significant role in today’s politics because it promotes democracy. In any democratic nation the media plays a major role in ensuring that democracy is preserved and upheld. In America for instance, the media is viewed as a watchdog when it comes to democracy (Horner, 2015). American media is well protected by the constitution. This helps in advancing the call for democracy regardless of which government is in power. The press has got strong political persuasion and power to advice, inform and educate the masses on matters concerning democracy. This implies that the contribution of media to democracy cannot be overlooked.
Another area where the media affects politics is party manifesto and policies. Voters require information about a particular party or candidate for that matter in order to make wise decision. The only way voters can understand party manifesto and policies is through the media (Laitinen, 2013, 5). Without proper information about the policies of a party, the voters remain in the dark and handicapped when it comes to political decisions. The media acts as the medium through which information contained in manifestos is conveyed to the voter. The media remains outstanding when it comes to political awareness.
Politicians, while running for office, tend to target a certain group. Media provides a platform for politicians to reach out to their target groups. If one is targeting youth, women, poor or discriminated people; it becomes easy though media. The social media or print media can easily pass political message to a particular group of individuals (Satterfield, 2016). Media therefore affects politics by ensuring that every target group in the society is reached. This makes politicians connect with everyone hence increasing their chances of winning elections.
Media offers the politicians an opportunity to fundraise for their campaigns. Economic power and politics are inseparable. This implies that politicians need money to Advance their political ambitions. Both mainstream media and social media play a vital role when it comes to fundraising for politics (Kate, 2010). In America for instance, Barrack Obama used the media to fundraise for his presidential campaigns. He managed to get millions of dollars online. Without the social and mainstream media political parties may find it had to raise funds for their campaigns and other expenses. With the advent of technology, the media offers an opportunity for parties to do fundraising. This is a clear indication that media largely affects politics all over the world.
Media provides both politicians and their followers a direct link. Through the social media, followers can easily interact with politicians without any struggle. Through Facebook, tweeter, instagram, whatsapp and other forums politicians get in touch with their followers. This makes communication easier and faster. There is no need for one to walk long distance in order to meet with politicians (Satterfield, 2016). Long time ago it was next to impossible to meet with a political aspirant. This is because one had to present himself or herself in political rallies. This is no longer the case nowadays since interactions between followers and politicians has been made easier via media access.
The media affects politics through political debates. The media organizes structured debates for presidential, senatorial or other elective positions. This gives the politicians and their parties a forum to express themselves and on the other hand challenge or scrutinize their opponents manifesto or policies (Leitinen, 2013). It is the responsibility of the media industry to plan for these debates and leas with the respective political parties and candidates for participation. The political debates are always shaped by the media hence it plays a fundamental role in determining the fate of politics in any given country.
Voting is an essential part of politics. Media affects politics when it comes to the process of voting. All effort in politics culminates into voting and without which politics is rendered futile. In major and established democracies like the USA, voting is electronic which means it is powered by technology. The internet forms the basis for this kind of voting. Since the internet is a component of media, it therefore implies that media affects political decisions of people (Kate, 2010). The media affects the outcome of a political process. This is a clear indication that media cannot be ignored when it comes to politics.
Whereas, the media plays a pivotal role in today’s politics, it is also important to point out that media has got detrimental effects when it comes to politics. If not well managed, the media may exhibit biasness when it comes to political coverage. In any political contest we have those who tend to be stronger politically and those who are weak (Wolfsfeld, 2011, 1). The media is always manipulated by those who are politically powerful. This makes the less powerful politically to be disadvantaged when it comes to coverage. In turn it ends up misleading the public and this affects the outcome of election. There is lack of sufficient information about all the political players. This brings diverse effects on the decision that people make on the voting day. This implies that the media robs the electorate their right to access of information so that they can make wise decisions.
Media tend to affect politics in a negative way when it overemphasizes poll opinions. Instead of the media focusing on real political issues and policies of political parties, it shifts the focus to who is losing and who is gaining popularity. This is so misleading and affects politics so much. A good example is the recent polls in America where the media portrayed Hilary Clinton to be ahead of Trump (Harack, 2010). Concentrating on opinion polls can be devastating especially for the candidates who appear to be leading but in the long run find themselves loosing election. This clearly shows that media waters down the real essence of politics and reduce it to opinion polls rather than real issues that affect people.
The social media has diversely affected politics in this era by making people to be more irrational than rationale. Most of the post, tweets or messages on the social media aims at triggering people’s emotions. Politics is not about emotions but it’s all about analytical thinking that prompts sober decisions (Carr, 2015). When the social media engages people’s feelings rather than engaging people’s minds then this erodes politics. It should be noted that politics is an important part of society and should be regarded and treated with respect. The media has reduced politics to an emotional affair and this is not right at all.
The media educates, entertains, informs and influences society for both a good and a bad course. It cannot be overlooked since it forms the basis for knowledge and information dissemination. The media and politics are two distinct things yet they are dependent on each other. Politics depends so much on the media to enhance democracy and fairness. On the other hand the media affects politics in a negative manner where instead of promoting justice in politics, it brings biasness. The failure to engage people’s mind but instead the emotions is so detrimental to today’s politics. With this in mind, the effects of media on today’s politics should not be overlooked. Serious attention is required in order to establish strong and durable political entities in the society.
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