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How much influence does the media have on the political process

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  • Essay length: 1881 words
  • Submitted: 20/02/2009
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GCSE Politics

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How much influence does the media have on the political process

The media is considered the fourth power in the modern democratic society. Its influence is undisputed, although it is hard to measure and to determine whether it is positive or negative. This essay will examine different theories related to the nature and the extent of the media influence on the political process. It will attempt to explain the trends in the development and the roles that different types of media play in the society.

There are three basic theories approaching the subject. According to them the media reinforces the public opinion, it forms the public opinion or it does not affect it (Clark 1979). The first theory is based on the assumption that people have established opinions and political preferences and the exposure to the mass media is unlikely to change them, but only to reinforce them. This view is summarized by Joseph Klapper (as cited in Clark 1979: 72) "Persuasive communication functions far more frequently as an agent of reinforcement than as an agent of change". This observation aligns with the typical structure of a pluralist society in which different interest groups have different

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