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The Six Political Functions of Media Essay

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Media plays a crucial role in the dissemination of information from the power-elites to the masses in the United States. Americans today consume news information largely through the use of television, and to a lesser extent newspapers and radio. Those who control the information presented in these mediums enjoy a wealth of influence in relation to the political and social values of ordinary Americans. Elites within the industry accomplish their mission of political and social influence by utilizing the six political functions of mass media; news making, interpretation, socialization, persuasion, agenda setting and framing.

“News making is deciding what and who are newsworthy and allocating precious television time and newspaper space accordingly.” (Dye & Zeigler, p. 125) Executives, editors, anchors and the like make crucial decisions in regards to which stories make the headlines or are featured during news casts. Given that the average American does little to no research of their own, the decisions made by these media elites are instrumental in the formulation of public opinion.

News making is clearly demonstrated when one watches the recent Republican presidential debates. During the CBS News/National Journal Debate which took place in November of last year, presidential candidate Dr. Ron Paul was given only 90 seconds to speak during a hour and a half debate. A study conducted by the University of Minnesota found that “at the midway point, Romney had spoke for 7 minutes and 25 seconds – more than Gingrich, Paul, Huntsman, and Santorum recorded for the entire debate.” (Ostermeier) Clearly the media-elite favorite, Mitt Romney has vastly outpaced the rest of the Republican field in terms of on air time during the ...


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...and how this project affects your life.” They know that not every viewer will be affected by the road work, but their taxes will be affected as the government spends to improve roads, giving the story importance to many viewers.

As seen in the above examples, mass media has an enormous impact on the political and social values of Americans.


Works Cited

Dye, Thomas R, Zeigler. The Irony of Democracy. 14th ed. Boston: Wadsworth, 2009. Print.

London, Scott. "How the Media Frames Political Issues." Scott London Reports. Scott London. 7 February 2012. .

Ostermeier, Eric. "Equal Time? Romney Records One Quarter of Face Time at New Hampshire Debate." Smart Politics. 12 October 2011. University of Minnesota. 7 February 2012. .


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