Role Of Mass Media In Politics


In this discussion I call upon two movies as examples and evidence to
examine the role of mass media in politics. The two movies I will use for this
basis are The Candidate and All the Presidents Men.
Today, the art of governing a society seems to be much dictated or
prescribed by what the assemblage of the citizens of the United States say or
express to the mass media.
Thus, the government and politicians listening to and acting upon our
very wishes and desires. Or looking at this in another point of view; The mass
media relays to us as citizens the news or information about the administration
as conveyed or set forth by the administration as the "truth". I believe that
the majority of the populace would tend to agree more with this second point of
view. The government or politicians of this great country try to appear to have
the semblance of truth or honesty in all of it's endeavors.
And sometimes it does. However, on occasion within its own discretion,
the media investigates and tries to inform us by the televised news, major
newspapers and (large) radio personalities of cover-ups, conspiracies and or
wrong doings by our so-called leaders. Are we always told the truth by the mass
media? By the government? By the media speaking for or as directed by the
government? Or has the line between truth and lies been so badly blurred in
politics that we will never know what truly goes on in our political system?
The two movies examined, both play in some way on the function of the
mass media in American politics. We can see how much and how heavily we rely on
our televisions, radio shows, newspapers and now the Internet to communicate to
us the latest breaking news, political campaigns, slandering, commercials for
politicians running for office, debates, presidential addresses, cover-ups,
conspiracies and information that can take down an entire administration. This
shows that in all the different aspects of politics that the media plays a very
wide, varied and important role in letting us know what is going on.
The Candidate tries to unveil how a political campaign for office is run.
It tells the story of how an upstart uses the media and available resources in
its televised form to try and convey his message and his beliefs to the mass
public on whom he will rely upon to vote and hopefully elect him into office.
As we see though, the people or elite's who run the campaign, take what the
candidate says and dilute it, dissect it, take it out of context and rearrange
his words into what they think the public wants to hear. We see how elitist
decisions are made as to what we get to see, hear and digest on our own. How do
they know what we want to hear? (Maybe they would if they would go door to
door and take a legitimate poll on the issues and concerns that are the most
important to us today.) What we do get to see in this example though, is a
behind the scenes look at the candidate and how he differs from his real self
personae when not in the public eye and how he is skeptical at a lot of the ways
a political campaign is run.
All the President's Men shares the same theme and ideas as The Candidate
in that the main link between the people and the politicians/administration is
the media. This story is based upon how the undying determination of a team of
two reporters for a major newspaper, The Washington Post go at all costs to get
the truth out in their investigation and uncovering of a major conspiracy in the
administration. The reporters fact finding was hindered quite a few times along
the way to discover and disclose the truth to the public, but their willingness
and determination to do so brought out the facts and allegations that crippled
the White House. This example shows how the media does play a crucial role in
bringing out the truths and realities of what really goes on behind the closed
doors of the politicians who run our country.
There are some things that separate these two movies in regard to the
role of the media in politics. They differ in the angles at which they
approach their respective story. For instance in The Candidate, television is
the main means of communication to the