Since independence, American politics has encouraged free media with limited government censorship. This has been achieved through the First Amendment in the Constitution. Lack of centralized power, coupled with competition between parties has encouraged free media. Evolving technologies have continued to transform mass media through online content and social media. Technology has brought numerous benefits to mass media, although a few negative effects of the media also emerged due to technology.
The media in the US has been effective in playing its role of informing the public. The media dependency theory asserts that the effectiveness of media increases as people increase their reliance on media to satisfy their needs. The media has been active in the interpretation of political utterances, in addition to bringing politicians together. American citizens rely heavily on newspapers, TV, and internet for information and entertainment.
Political officials normally utilize the media to achieve their goals through communication and agenda-setting. Politicians who aspire to take political offices seek the assistance of the media to pass their manifestos. They rely heavily on media to advertise themselves, as well as to create a platform for citizens to participate in political issues. Political campaigns are won by those who have more money to pay the media and to lure the reporters for an interview.
The media plays a key role in informing and educating the public on matters that pertain to public agenda and policies. It creates a connection between the public and its leaders in understanding democracy and political socialization. The media acts as a “fourth estate” through gathering information and informing the public on decision-making that can assist during the voting process.
The American Constitution allows freedom of media, as well as speech. Federal regulators (in this case, the Federal Communications Commission), only focus on licensing and regulating the airwaves. Due to a lack of proper regulation, the media has been blamed for numerous societal ills. Attempts to incriminate the media for presenting irrelevant content have failed, and the verdict is that citizens should be accountable for their own conduct, especially at this age of social media.