The mass media possesses a great deal of influence in society and politics in the United States. Newspapers, radio, magazines and television are able to use their own judgment when reporting current events. The power of the mass media is an asset to the government in some instances and an obstacle in others. Recent technology has given to the mass media improved the way by which the public can get information. The final say in what goes into a story, however, belongs to the one person alone. His or her opinions and biases are often a main part of the news the public receives.
The mass media is the means by which the citizens of the United States are informed of current events in politics. This gives the media huge amounts of power and control. Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell stated in 1974, "An informed public depends upon accurate and effective reporting by the news media. No individual can obtain for himself the information needed for the intelligent discharge of his political responsibilities." Powell is saying that it is the media's responsibility to inform the citizens of the news, because people cannot get this information by themselves, and in order for the people to fulfill their responsibilities as citizens, such as voting, they need to be informed. Lewis Powell goes on to say,.
"For most citizens, the prospect of personal familiarity with.
newsworthy events is hopelessly unrealistic. In seeking out the.
news, the press therefore acts as an agent of the public at large.
It is the means by which people receive that free flow of.
information and ideas essential to intelligent self government.".
No citizen is able to obtain all of the "newsworthy" information they need alone. The press provides the people with the information necessary for democracy in the United States.
The media has been referred to as the fourth branch of government.