The media reaches over a 100 million people a day. Due to its tremendous audience and the impact it has, the media has been able to change public opinion, American policy, and even American history. The media's powerful influence can be seen through its portrayal of major events like the Vietnam War, The Spanish-American War, Watergate and several others. Through the years the role of media in publish affairs has changed as its influence has grown. The focus of my research is on how media originated and its influence on several historical events. .
When the media began, it had a political agenda. It was an outlet through which the common people would criticize the government. The right to criticize was established in 1735 by John Peter Zenger, the first journalist to criticize the government in his newspaper, The New York Weekly Journal. Zenger was jailed by the government, but found not guilty by the jury. This was the first time anyone had publicly protested against the government, fought persecution in the courts, and won. Thus, this case set the precedent for the First Amendment. .
In the early history of American Journalism most newspaper articles were editorials. As the media's influence grew, the government began to take notice. In the 1920's the government began passing regulatory laws and set up the Federal Communications Communion to monitor the broadcast media. Over the years, new laws have been passed and repealed, both in favor and in opposition of the media.
An example of the media's influence is the Spanish-American War. In 1898 negotiations were going on between the United States and Spain over the two countries" involvement in the Caribbean. William Randolph Hearst, editor and owner of the New York Daily and media pioneer, sent artist Fredrick Remington to Cuba to paint pictures of what was happening because Hearst believed war was unavoidable. Remington reported back that there was nothing to paint and negotiations were going well.