The media does have a significant role in how U.S. Citizens are exposed to political involvements, people and agendas. As we have several different forms of media to choose from, including newspaper, radio, art, television, music and internet there uses in the American government has grown increasingly throughout their growth and development. As political topics and candidates are getting more and more heated and controversial we are likely to see extremely creative methods of using the media that we have at our disposal.
One of the forms of media that has a strong influence in today’s society is television. Television first showed it’s real influence and power in public policies in 1930 when the first news program was aired. As time progressed the evening news became a regularly scheduled event by the 1940s. Television then took a huge form with the advent of simultaneous telecast television. With live television public opinions grew at a much larger pace then before. Prime example, was with the television broadcast “See It Now”. The shows host, Edward R. Murrow, received some accreditation for the political downfall of Senator Joesph McCarthy, due to his broadcast entitled “A Report on Senator Joesph McCarthy”. Point in case, a single, 30 minute, television broadcast by a media personnel is accredited with the aid of bringing to light a Senator’s career suicide.
As television grew in America so did the uses that political candidates found to get their views and policies across to the American people. In 1947 the White House seemed to have even found television to be a great source of communication as the first State of the Union address was televised. The Capitol’s uses of television has continued to grow to present day when you can view any given activity and public discussions on television. (Art and History)
Television also gives an outlet for political candidates to advertise themselves and their views on public policy through commercials, live debates, and even television shows. Candidates have found themselves on sitcoms, late night talk shows, and even in the most obscure types of shows one can imagine. Shows like Saturday Night Live, Late Night with David Letterman, The Arsenal Hall Show, and many more have found having several political candidates as not only guests to discuss and answer questions, as well as to be the butt end of jokes and puns.
Another form of media that has have a significant effect on politics and opinions is the internet. The internet has became a staple in the lives of most Americans, and with such opinions on social topics and political standpoints have grown, almost seemingly, at an equal rate with its’ popularity. Also development of such social websites like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and it’s clones gives the average citizen an avenue to voice his or her opinions and views to the masses. It is not uncommon to see such pages from candidates running for government offices, and for such pages to be used as a vessel to get their political and social standings out to the masses.
As technology has developed, so has the internet and the means by which people access it. Smart phones, tablets and other devices allow people to not only get the news, messages and information from campaigns on the go, but allows them to receive them instantly. As this has allowed citizens to receive information at any given point throughout their day, it has given a greater opportunity for such messages to be presented to citizens.
The internet also allows for voting to be on the fly per say. Candidates can see how they stand with the popularity of the citizens or how a particular topic of discussion is fairing. Internet can also be used as source of advertising and can mimic television in such manners.
In most cases Television and the Internet has also been intertwined to allow both forms of media to be used and accessed at the same time. Some examples have been live telecast of debates and discussions that involve the internet to allow viewers to vote on topics, agree and disagree with short word form messages and even ask questions to a candidate from the comfort of your home. Such interactions make politics and candidates more personable and thus more intriguing. Direct involvement with citizens can make a huge impact on passing policies, swinging voters toward the candidate and even help in deciding how changes are made to our world and daily lives.
As technology continues to develop in the future it would not surprise me in the least that media will play a stronger and more dominate role in the American political system.
Art and History. (n.d.). Retrieved 06 11, 12, from Senate.gov: http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/generic/News_State_of_the_Union.htm
Wikipedia. (n.d.). Wikipedia. Retrieved 06 11, 12, from : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Television_news_in_the_United_States