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The Mass Media in United States

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 Government Democracy in


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