This essay is devoted to the analysis of the power of the mass media. In the paper special attention is paid to the sources of mass media power in a society.
- The Power of the Media.
‘A person’s perception of reality is a result of his beliefs. Nowadays many of those beliefs are formed or influenced via the mainstream media. Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one.’ – Liebling A.J.
The mass media plays a significant role in shaping and displaying public opinion as it reports the world’s changes to people. Generally speaking, the mass media role and importance in the USA and in the world continues to develop. Thus, it has several purposes:
- The mass media gives the information to the public – political, social, etc. It shapes the public opinion.
- The mass media is responsible for the political stability and balance.
- It can perform the role of a direct actor.
- The mass media is reliable for the adequate information.
The mass media reflects the present state of the society and can change people’s opinions in this or that way. It is a powerful source in any society. The mass media have an important role in a modern US society as the basic source of communication. People rely on the mass media as the major channel of information. In other words, the mass media is the basis on which people shape their opinions. Any article or a piece of information has a deep influence on the whole society. The two sources of the mass media power are the government and the power of wealth. These are the major forces that direct the mass media nowadays (Askew 2002, p.204).
In general, the owners of the news media try to make their mass media be political neutral. However, all of them have their own opinions concerning politics, social life or others. Their personal views form the news decisions, so that people receive the information based on the subjective opinion of the elite. The percentage of the personalized material depends on the owner wealth and orientation of the major mass media companies; advertising; dependence of the news media on the information given by the government and the approval of the information sources. The sources of news pass through the filters first for being newsworthy. Curran in his book ‘Media and Power: Communication and Society’ points out that ‘the major media forms are very large companies. They are owned by very wealthy people who have common interests, with other major corporations. This is one of the most powerful filters that influence the choice of news’ (Curran 2002, pp. 278-82).
For instance, GE and Westinghouse are the owners of main TV networks. They are large companies which are involved in the areas of nuclear power. These companies rely on the government, its help in the military research for shaping the basis for their sales abroad. Large media companies usually have a right-wing political bias. To my opinion the mass media in the United States is powerful in influencing the views of ordinary people.
The essay briefly analyzes the importance of the mass media in the US society. The paper proves that two sources of the mass media – government and wealth – influence the kinds of news people receive.
Askew, K., Wilk R. (2002). ‘The Anthropology of Media: A Reader’. Blackwell Publishing, Incorporated, 432 pp.
Curran, J. (2002). ‘Media and Power: Communication and Society’. Routledge; 1 edition, 320 pp.
Graber, D.A. (2006). ‘Media Power in Politics’. CQ Press; 5th edition, 454 pp.
Price M.E. (2004). ‘Media and Sovereignty: The Global Information Revolution and Its Challenge to State Power’. The MIT Press; New Ed edition, 326 pp.