It is known that the media play an important role in politics. The media not only cover politics, but also affect voters. Newspapers and television are effectively used to inform the electorate. According to James N. Druckman (2005), “the emergence and rapid diffusion of television constitutes one of the major technological transformations of the 20th century”ť(p. 464). In congressional and local level political races, political parties actively use ads in the media in order to influence the results of the elections. Some experts consider that television has replaced radio and newspapers as the major means of mass communication in politics. Mark J. Rozell states that “the media became an important tool for communicating with voters”ť (p. 142). However, it does not mean that the media always have a positive impact on politics. In some cases, the media can distort information, limit the individual’s ideas of politics and replace the intellect of politicians for entertainment.
THE NEGATIVE SIDE OF MEDIA IN POLITICS
It is not a secret that in many cases, the mass media has negative effect on politics. Glenn Greenwald (2010) is sure that “the media limits the individual’s idea of politics”ť (p. 827). Â It means that the understanding of the political world by the individuals is artificially limited. The mass media can be used in changing of the major political attitudes and beliefs of citizens, and their behavior. It is found that some social scientists state that the effects of the Internet and television have positive effects on democratic institutions, while others argue that these effects are negative. In many cases, the press and television represent some unstated assumptions. The other important thing is that the initiators of the media coverage may face certain challenges with their information, as their opponents may bring out the negative features of the issues. It is revealed that today the media are particularly receptive to such activities as blaming and personalizing in their coverage (Jayyusi, 2005, p. 48). Â In order to be effective in politics each side should seek to shape political coverage in terms of these features. According to Glenn Greenwald (2010), “political opinions are manipulated”ť(p. 827). It means that the media can shape political worldview, and the majority of people realize that the set of information they have got is all they need to know about this or that political issue or politician. In the article Limiting Democracy: The American Media’s World View, and Ours, Glenn Greenwald (2010) proves that “the media does not ensure that knowledge is limited in a democracy”ť (p. 827). People can read commentary in the newspapers from all over the world, from cultures that have different views at political issues. Today the American political experience resists the belief that political dialogue in the United States is substantially manipulated or controlled. Free speech can be viewed as the core political value, and in the USA, all political ideas and beliefs are aired, and each citizen can express his or her opinion.
Moreover, many people are sure that the media is effective in providing information to the readers, but “does not help them to decide how to vote”ť, in accordance with Duncan Watts (1997, p. 74). The research proves the fact that television is more effective as a voter-guidance than the press. Of course, television can be used to enhance the degree of awareness and understanding of many voters, but, as a rule, people are well-informed and knowledgeable in their understanding of certain political issues. It is known that “a person’s own environment can greatly affect his or her judgment”ť (Watts, 1997, p. 75). It means that friends, associates, parents can mould the views of voters. In addition, many people are rather skeptical of what they hear or see, and are very resistant to political leaders. Duncan Watt (1997) states that “they think these politicians simply attack one another and so believe none”ť (p. 76). Many studies suggest that the media can reinforces some people’s views and opinions, but the media cannot really change them. Generally speaking, the mass media not only manipulate the ideas and beliefs of voters, but also can distort the important facts about this or that candidate.