Information is a critical component of every culture. It offers enlightenment and develops problem-solving skills. It aids in the formation and evaluation of views. Furthermore, successful decision-making mechanisms focus on individuals' ability to collect adequate data on a given subject. Throughout history, mass media has been a great medium for collecting and disseminating information. Media sources have affected many facets of society, including society, ethical values, and politics. This essay examines the effect of mass media on various aspects of American society. It investigates the topic in its cultural, socioeconomic, and political aspects. It also outlines various ways through which electronic technologies have shaped the collection and distribution of information.
Mass Media and the American Culture
Mass media has played significant roles in modelling the systems of knowledge, beliefs, and other manifestations of the human intellect. Specifically, the media is a major force in shaping the American culture and has led to several cultural transformations. For instance, America is popular for its tolerance to multiple faiths, ethnicities, and respect for gender-based differences. However, this reputation did not come easily. The country has contended with severe instances of racial, religious, and gender-based discriminations. The media has been at the forefront in these battles. Information houses and correspondents have played central roles in bringing such injustices to the attention of the public. The media has also shaped other aspects of American culture such as clothing and food. For example, news outlets such as newspapers and televisions are principal channels of entertainment. They usually publicize plenty of information regarding celebrities such as musicians and sports personalities. Many people, especially youths, have an inclination to imitate the lives of such superstars. Due to the ability of the media to shape lives, it is appropriate to examine the ethical responsibilities that the society places on information houses.
Social Responsibility of the Mass Media
Social responsibility denotes the moral obligation that an entity has towards ensuring the benefit of the society. It ensures that humans maintain appropriate balance between economic interests and the ecosystem. Corporate accountability encompasses any commitment that an organization has to make to ensure that economic progress does not come at the expense of the well-being of the community (Ramanathan, & Goel, 2014). Mass media is among the greatest forces in the world and has a large audience with diverse backgrounds. Such power comes with accountability. However, the extent to which the media must be responsible when fulfilling its social obligations is debatable. An essential societal obligation of the mass media is that of creating awareness. Media channels have a duty to improve the knowledge of the communities that they serves. Currently, several ethical issues surround the kind of knowledge that media organizations should disseminate with respect to particular audiences. For instance, debates exist on the content of media information regarding sensitive issues such as pornography, racism, transgender unions, or abortion. Moreover, diverse opinions exist as to whether the government should restrict the kind and the amount of information that should be available to the public. In addition to contributing to public awareness, mass media channels have the responsibility of ensuring peaceful existence. Some Americans feel that the media should take liability for the moral decay prevalent in the country (The Media Assault, n.d.). Media houses and personalities should condemn unlawful activities irrespective of the perpetrators. Additionally, they should ensure that the information they spread does not promote violent or unlawful conduct. Such precautions are especially relevant in politics.
The Role of Media in Politics
Mass media has the capability of influencing public perceptions regarding every aspect of the society. In particular, it has played significant roles in shaping American politics. For instance, the information that the media presents regarding a particular political candidate or party can determine the way the public perceive them. Besides, political parties or aspirants publish their agenda in various media outlets such as dailies or the Web. Moreover, media houses such as CNN hold regular presidential debates. A candidate’s performance during such debates usually influence the attitude of the public regarding the contestant. Another way through which the media affects American politics is by conducting opinion polls. Opinion polls have a measure of control over political views (Cowling, 2015). However, the degree with which such surveys influence public views is debatable. In several instances, they have failed to reflect ground realities. For example, during the 2016 presidential campaigns, almost all poll results suggested that Democrat Hillary Clinton would win the elections. The opposite was true. Donald Trump carried the day.
Effects of Electronic Media on Journalism and Information Coverage
Since its inception, the field of journalism has undergone rapid evolution regarding coverage, quality of presentation, and the target audience. The primary force behind these developments is changing technology. While print media still accounts for a significant portion of material by journalists, advancements in the information technology (IT) sector have resulted in a speedy shift towards electronic forms. Electronic media has influenced journalism in several ways. First, it has increased the amount of information that journalists can broadcast. For instance, the use of mobile technologies such as smartphones or tablets has made it possible for media houses to receive news from correspondents serving in any part of the world. Moreover, such devices have improved the speed of distribution. Today, it takes seconds to transmit live events from the scenes of coverage to media stations and finally to target viewers or listeners. Electronic media has also widened the scope of audience. For instance, the Internet has become a principal tool in dissemination of information. The use of the Internet has resulted in several benefits. It makes it easier for journalists to publish their information. It also reduces the publishing and distribution costs. Additionally, the number of individuals accessing the Internet is increasing. Therefore, journalists are able to reach larger audiences than when using printed formats. Nevertheless, in some cases, the urge to disseminate fast news has led journalists to compromise the accuracy and quality of their information.
Ramanathan, M., & Goel, M. (2014). Business ethics and corporate social responsibility. Procedia Economics and Finance, 11, 49-59.
Cowling, D. (February 18, 2015). How political polling shapes public opinion. BBC News. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-31504146.
The media assault on American values (n.d.). Media Research Center. Retrieved from http://www.mrc.org/special-reports/media-assault-american-values-executive-summary.