The mass media possesses a great deal of influence in society and
politics in the United States. Newspapers, radio, magazines and television
are able to use their own judgment when reporting current events. The
power of the mass media is an asset to the government in some instances and
a stumbling block in others. Recent technology and regulations given to
the mass media have improved the means by which the public can get
information. The final say in what goes into a story, however, belongs to
the reporter alone. His opinions and biases are often a main part of the
The mass media is the means by which the citizens of the United States
are informed of current events in politics. This gives the media huge
amounts of power and control. Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell stated
in 1974, "An informed public depends upon accurate and effective reporting
by the news media. No individual can obtain for himself the information
needed for the intelligent discharge of his political responsibilities."
Powell is saying that it is the media's responsibility to inform the
citizens of the news, because people cannot get this information by
themselves, and in order for the people to fulfill their responsibilities
as citizens, such as voting, they need to be informed. Lewis Powell goes
"For most citizens, the prospect of personal familiarity with
newsworthy events is hopelessly unrealistic. In seeking out the
news, the press therefore acts as an agent of the public at large.
It is the means by which people receive that free flow of
information and ideas essential to intelligent self government."
No citizen is able to obtain all of the "newsworthy" information they
need alone. The press provides the people with the information necessary
According to our textbook, United States G... Continues...