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77 Marq. L. Rev. 385 (1993-1994)
Mass Media and the Transformation of American Politics

handle is hein.journals/marqlr77 and id is 391 raw text is: MASS MEDIA AND THE TRANSFORMATION OF
AMERICAN POLITICS
I. INTRODUCTION
The importance of the mass media1 in today's society cannot be over-
estimated. Especially in the arena of policy-making, the media's influ-
ence has helped shape the development of American government. To
more fully understand the political decision-making process in this coun-
try it is necessary to understand the media's role in the performance of
political officials and institutions. The significance of the media's influ-
ence was expressed by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: The Press has become
the greatest power within Western countries, more powerful than the
legislature, the executive, and the judiciary. One would then like to ask:
By what law has it been elected and to whom is it responsible?'2
The importance of the media's power and influence can only be fully
appreciated through a complete understanding of who or what the media
are. The purpose of this Comment is to provide an analysis of the syner-
getic effect of the mass media in American politics. Part II of this Com-
ment explores the economic interests and political ideologies that affect
media corporations and personnel. Part III presents an overview of the
predominant perception of the media in modem American society. Part
III explores how the media are both responsible participants in the de-
velopment of public policy as well as commercial forces in a competitive
market. Part IV examines how the media define reality through their
interpretation of issues and events. In addition, this section analyzes
how various inherent aspects of the industry dictate news coverage and
how different mediums affect an audience. Part V addresses the influ-
ence that the media have on the political agenda. The media's impact on
both individual government officials and the decision-making process it-
self is also discussed. Finally, Part VI presents an overview of how the
government manipulates the media through the use of deceptive tactics
and authorized regulations.
1. For purposes of this Comment, the term media signifies enterprises involved in re-
porting, printing, publishing, or broadcasting news. These entities consist of reporters, manag-
ers, editors, producers, and owners, each of whom influence the final product-information.
2. WILLIAM R. RIVERs, THE OTHER GOVERNMENT. POWER AND THE WASHINGTON ME-
DIA 7 (1982).

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