The ability of the media to influence the public in countries worldwide is not standardized. Most commonly, the media is used for ensuring the support of the public to the initiatives developed by the government in regard to the management of crucial public issues…
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Media is considered to be a critical tool of communication between the government and the public, a fact which is reflected in the use of the media every time an important governmental plans needs to be promoted. The effects of media on American society are critically discussed in this paper. It is noted that the relationship between the media and the particular society is of similar form as in other countries worldwide – referring to the relationship between the media and the local population. However, in USA this relationship is highly developed; the media is considered as the unique tool for identifying the consent of the public to particular political decisions. It should be noted that through the decades the power of the media to affect the American society seems to be weakened – probably under the influence of the failures of media to represent the actual status/ quality of political and economic plans as promoted by the government, the local authorities but also the private sector – the case of Enron which was considered to be a quite powerful corporation, as presented through the media, is an indicative example of the failure of media to check the validity of the social and economic messages promoted through the particular means of communication. Traditionally, the American society has been strongly affected by media. As a result, every time that a critical political decision had to be supported the media was used, more or less, to ensure the consent of the public to the attempted changes. In order to understand the effects of media on American Society, it would be necessary to refer primarily to the characteristics of this society. Then, the potentials of media to affect the particular society would be made clear. The American society is based on specific principles/ ethics. Trust is of key importance for getting the approval of the public. In terms of decisions related to the management of the country’s issues, the participation of the public has been of critical importance. The term participation refers to the awareness of the public of the basic rules of the attempted plans, i.e. the direct involvement of the public in the realization of these plans is not necessary. In other words, in the context of the trust, as existing between the politicians and the public the provision of information to the public on the main principles/ parts of governmental decisions is considered as having the sense of involvement of the public in the relevant initiatives. The power of the media to influence the view of the public on critical social, political and economic issues is reflected in the literature published in the particular field. At a first level, the ability of the media to influence each individual has been assessed. The theories developed in this area have been rather contradictory. In the study of Shirley (256) reference is made to the hypodermic needle theory, which is based on the view that media cannot affect equally all people; rather, the media affects each individual at a different level in accordance with his background and perceptions. In the context of this theory it is believed that the behavior of the individual is of critical importance in order to understand his exposure to the media, meaning the level at which the media can influence the views/ decisions of the particular person. On the other hand, there is the magic bullet theory, which considers the potentials of the media to influence the public as being of a standardized form. In the context of this theory, the media is able to influence all people the same even if the message transmitted through the media has not been checked as of its validity (Shirley 256). The above theory
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