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The Media and the Government The Media and the Government

Media is a complex organizational unit, which is influenced by economic and political forces. At the same time, it has an ability to influence social processes and events, according to various interest groups (David Croteau, 2012). According to Wasserman, the interest groups could be understood through their association types. For instance, business groups are actively promoting their profit driven interests in the media. On top of that, because of their influence they are able to create a supporting system for the favorable bias in the media. Apart from the business interest groups there are also professional associations, labor unions and various environmental and political groups (Wasserman, 2006). All of the mentioned interest groups interact within the media system, making a profound impact on the government and general public. Certainly, government and media are closely linked together and some times it is not always clear who has more influence on the information flow and its coverage in various distribution channels. At the same time, it is quite apparent that both actors are relying on each other in order to influence the public. For example, in political campaigns candidates are likely to build strong relationship with the media to promote their civic involvement and positive self-image (Wasserman, 2006). On the other hand, media may pressure political leaders throughout the news and therefore question their authority and power. Thus, media can be both a tool for political advancement and an obstacle to various interest groups. It is important to understand that media is restricted by governmental regulations, which means that its influence in public issues is defined by law (David Croteau, 2012). Nevertheless, media could be viewed as a fourth branch of the government as it defines alternatives for extensive decision-making. In fact, media is providing selected information to various stakeholders through carefully selected channels. Therefore, media is able to prioritize events and raise public awareness regarding various sensitive issues. In other words, media has a certain degree of freedom as it can in some circumstances create its own agenda. Roger and Dearing define agenda as the list of issues and events that are viewed at a point in time ranked in a hierarchy of importance (Reese, 2001). Consistent media research shows that the media as collective entity of agencies has unified standards that largely influence common agenda. Most media agencies are likely to cover high-profile stories, which means that the stories with greater public interest have more chances to be in the spot light.

The Media and the Government

It is clear that media is operating depending on consumers demands. Hence, media could not be completely independent in setting the agenda as a wide range of interest groups is introducing their bias in the agenda. Each interest group operates by certain values, which govern their objective and issue selection for media coverage. For instance, within the liberal framework there are more opportunities for pluralism, which insures more diversity for the media agenda (Reese, 2001). In general bias as a term can be viewed as a taste difference within the media. At the same time, bias can also refer to the degree of the accuracy and honesty. Bias can appear at the agenda at many different levels, as reporters are highly selective while processing the information. Bias by commission, omission, story selection, placement and labeling are among the most common (Baker, 1994). It is essential to distinguish reporting bias as it can influence policy endorsement processes and therefore will have an impact on the political and social agenda. Regardless of the mentioned bias, media can exercise its power in two different ways. First of all, it can control various resources, which allows to structure more information and have a greater amount of channels for distribution. Secondly, certain media agencies can get enough reputation, expertise and authority to become more influential than others in the media industry. Hence, it is clear that the distribution of agenda control and power is not equally distributed between different types of media. Regardless of medias ability to adjust the agenda to some extend, it is still a highly regulated area. Moreover, governmental forces that can change from liberal to republican and vise versa have regulated medias agenda for decades. In fact, speech, information and media property rights can be either limited or extended depending on the political standing of the government. For instance, supporters of liberal media put a greater importance on free media and self-regulation, giving more opportunities for commercial interests of different stakeholders in order to protect the public monopoly of the government. Furthermore, liberal media outlets such as the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and National Public Radio (NPR) are viewed as important tools for non-commercial programming (David Croteau, 2012). Basically, liberal doctrine supports media property rights and the free-market system. Where as, conservatives are against politically correct diversity. For that reason, conservative doctrine promotes various media restrictions in order to decrease offensive media content such as violence and pornography. Obviously, both parties have different agendas with particular bias to shape the medias agenda in many direct and indirect ways. (David Croteau, 2012). Hence, media regulations and functioning largely depends on present

The Media and the Government political and social context.

Hence, the power of the media is not set in stone. More importantly media has different functions within the society. Certainly, there has been a continuities public debate about whether or not it is valid to view the media as the fourth brunch of the government. Yet, even without being the fourth brunch of government media is able to reflect societies values on justice. Nevertheless, various interest groups mentioned above have influenced media and therefore it cannot be a completely mutual observer of the events, which disturb law and order within national and global community. Within the liberal framework, media is given more social and political power, so it has been possible to monitor various government abuses. Yet, the ability to observe and report those issues does not mean that media is adopting a fair stance in the matter. Therefore, free speech and free press does not guarantee ethical media practices. For that reason, media is more of a commercial market that is defined by public interests and broadcasting markets. Where as, its ability to fasten communication between different brunches of government is distorted by both liberal and conservative biases. In short media is a market place of ideas (Oswald, 2009). Thus, it is not representing the fourth branch of the government. Media is a huge communication network, which cannot be regarded as a powerful tool on its own. Meaning that media is more like a messenger or vessel that can carry various intentions. For instance, it could be a government watch dog one day and an ally the next day. Therefore, liberal outlook has created a myth of transparency around the media, presenting it as a just and pluralistic. Consequently, media is driven by the interests of those in power, which gives a foundation to its dual nature. Media and politics as well as social and economic context create a large scoop of issues that are brought to the public attention. More importantly, the co-existence of media and government provides the public and decisionmakers with the set of bias, which influence both individual views and institutional processes.

The Media and the Government Works Cited

Baker, B. (1994). How to Identify Liberal Bias. In B. Baker, How to Identify, Expose and Correct Liberal Media Bias (1st Edition ed., p. 225). Media Research Center . David Croteau, W. H. (2012). Political Influence on Media. In W. H. David Croteau, Media/Society Industries, Images, and Audiences (pp. 77-120). SAGE Publications Inc. . Oswald, K. (2009). Mass Media and the Transformation of American Politics. Mass Media and Politics , 77, pp. 385-414. Reese, S. (2001). Setting the Media's Agenda: A Power Balance Perspective. In S. Reese, Framing Public Life; Perspectives on Media and our Understanding of the Social World (pp. 309-340). Routledge Taylor & Francis Group. Wasserman, G. (2006). The Basics of American Politics. Pearson.