The Politics of Media

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How the Relationship Between Media and Politicians can Influence Objectivity

As election season progresses, citizens will face a mountain of media intended to praise a or defame the candidate. In the war of ideologies, truth and opinion are thought of as the same. Citizens should be aware of agendas within media companies and when Election Day comes, citizens can make informed decisions.

Media has influence on culture, politics and what topics people pay attention to. According to the authors of Media Society, David Croteau and William Hoynes, “media influence what people think about and, to a lesser extent, how they understand the world.” The media’s influence over citizens has not remained unknown to politicians. According to Croteau and Hoynes, “with nonstop 24-hour cable news and a vast amount of election coverage and political commentary online, we can hardly overestimate the media’s influence on election campaigns.” Politicians can influence the public opinion through their relationship with the media.

“The media and telecommunications industry promotes its interests through a well-organized and powerful political arm.”

When consuming media during the election season, it’s important for audiences to know the relationship between media companies and politics. According to Croteau and Hoynes, “the media and telecommunications industry promotes its interests through a well-organized and powerful political arm.” The relationship is seen from federal election spending data reports, showing how much money media companies donated to elections in 2012. 

Music, TV and movie industries donated more than $12 million to the elections while the printing and publishing industry donated $18 million.

However influencing the public can be beneficial, if the reporting is objective and factual. But not every media company follows a strict standard of accuracy and objectivity. According to authors of The Elements of Journalism, Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel, “in the continuous news culture, news channels trying to shovel out the latest information have less time to check things out.” The result is a style of reporting Kovach and Rosenstiel call “journalism of affirmation.” In journalism of affirmation, it is easier for news organization to report stories tailored to dominant ideas held by the public, rather than investigating, if the ideas are misdirected. Investigation requires time and money, that may put media companies behind others who produce news faster and cheaper. Resulting in certain politicians not being scrutinized, especially if a relationship exists between the politician and the media company.

Ideas expressed in the First Amendment have journalism seen as a field dedicated to the truth, and intended for the maintenance of democracy. Yet media companies are also motivated by money; influencing their agendas. The results are decreased standards of objectivity. Citizens must know during election season that not all facts may be objective. That there may be hidden agendas and ideologies that favor a certain candidate.

For additional reading on the relationship between media and politics, read Media Society

 

Luke Winter is a journalism major at UNM. He wants to pursue a career in medicine after getting his undergraduate degree.

 

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