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Media And Voter Turnout Essay, Research Paper
Question 2: Media and Voter turnout
Today s technology is more powerful and far greater than in the years past. New forms of media have opened the door to numerous areas of communication. Networks and independents spawned satellite link-ups, cable television, telephone marketing, computer networks, video players and home shopping clubs. More extensive than our endless ribbon of rails, roadways or skyways, our media networks could reach out and touch anyone (Rushkoff 170). There are an abundant amount of forms of communication today than there were years ago. In reaching new areas of the world and new issues that weren t reached before government is now affected by media. Public opinion and media work hand in hand; one part functioning as long as the other functions simultaneously. The media relays public opinion to the nation and government officials while public opinion gives media stories to research and report on. Media also have definite effects on voting turnout throughout the nation. If the people don t like what the political parties are building their platforms on, reported by the media, then they are going to cast votes for them.
The government is definitely influenced by the people. There are many ways that public opinion affects the government. For any democrat who believes in government of the people, by the people, and for the people, the apparent power of public opinion should provoke few fears. Government by public opinion means that the philosophies, attitudes, and behavior of ordinary citizens are the chief source, support, and judge of government policies (Miroff 129). People have direct rule. The vast majority of the power lies with the people. If the political figures don t pay attention and support public opinion, they are not going to be elected into office. The people want someone that will represent their ideas. The logical conclusion is that to win elections public opinion has to be satisfied (Miroff130). Politicians must acknowledge the public s interests and adopt them into their party platform in order to earn a spot in government. People are not going to let someone who does not share the same ideals and views as them represent them in the government. Public opinion is simply the collective attitude of the citizens on a given issue or question (Janda 130). A seemingly simple principle, but when public opinion is carefully examined it seems to be a much more complex idea. Alexander Hamilton once called it a great beast, being aware of it s power and vast capabilities. Public opinion has its power and effects on government. Without public opinion, the political elite would rule over the people. Democracy would be defeated.
Public opinion and the media are very closely related; one factor thrives off of the other. Public opinion is formulated using the media as a vehicle. The media, on the other hand, informs the people about what the public opinion is. The founders hoped that the press would use its special protections to educate the public and ferret out facts, opinions, and interpretations that promoted intelligent debate. At the same time, the press is supposed to reflect and express the wide range of interests and views among the citizenry, whatever they may be (Miroff 155). This statement summarizes how media and public opinion work hand in hand. Media informs the public of what is going on with political issues and figures while the public relates to the media how they feel on those issues and figures.
In informing the public of governmental actions, democracy is able to function smoother and accomplish more as the people work together. Americans read, watch, use, and listen to the mass media more than at any time in our history. What we know about others, our politics, history, and the issues of confronting the country and the world depends more than ever on how all of these matters are presented by the mass media (Miroff 155). If there was ever a time where the media is drawing attention, it is now. People are tuned in and interested in what is going on. The media feeds the people the information they need to keep America s democracy smooth. Dewey saw inquiry and communication as the keys to the functioning of democracy, as ways to make consequences known, and to create an organized, articulate public (Page and Shapiro 149). The Public is the fire and the information it is fed is the firewood. In feeding fire firewood, it has the fuel it needs to keep burning. If a society provides accurate, helpful information about public policy; if it offers moral leadership, encourages participation, and in a broad sense educates its citizenry, then there is every reason to expect that citizens will rise to the occasion and democracy will flourish (Shapiro 146). As long as the public gets its information, they will be able to continue to uphold America s tradition of democracy.
The public knows what they want and they are going to express it through public opinion. They want the officials to know what they value and hold dear to them as a nation. Again and again we saw that the public makes definite distinctions among policy alternatives: which spending programs to cut and which to increase, under what conditions to permit legal abortions, when to us U.S. military abroad The public s choices among policies were generally consistent with each other and with broader values, and were usually maintained over periods of years (Shapiro 143). Public opinion is exact and to the point. The public knows what they want and how they want it to be done.
Public opinion also affects voting in numerous ways. The political party members are going to vote for what they feel will give them and their country the greatest benefits. Even though many citizens still vote for the candidates of the major parties, most voters report to pollsters that they don t care much about the parties, have a tough time indentifying them with particular ideas, and that they are largely irrelevant to their political beliefs (Miroff 200). The political parties aren t meeting too many guidelines of public opinion thus people are turning away and taking their loyalty to the party with them. The political parties are suffering because of this. Many writers have properly concluded from all this that the parties are weakening (Miroff 200). In the democracy of America, the power lies within the public, and if the public doesn t like something, they are not going to invest their time and effort into it.
Because the people are withdrawing their power from the political parties and investing it elsewhere, voting in America is the lowest in the world. In the last elections countries have held, Germany and Japan have seen 89%, Netherlands and the United Kingdom have seen 84% of their population turnout to place their votes. Last in the world with percentage of votes according to population was America, with a mere 70% of its population voting (Janda 214). America is hurting with voter turnout and everyone knows it. American turnout is the lowest on the planet (Teixeira 180).
New forms of technology have given media new opportunities in reporting and discovering new areas that they were restricted from just a couple years ago. Because of this, media is working now with the government. Media and public opinion are working together accomplishing feats and helping American democracy. Public opinion is largely responsible for the low voter turnout rates in America. Public opinion requests one thing, while political parties offer another, causing parties to lose the loyalty of their members. Government is just too complicated sometimes
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