HOW DIGITAL MEDIA ARE INFLUENCING POLITICS
Social media’s quick development into an important way to influence society is part of the advancement of information and communication technologies. The study Social Media and Politics - The New Power of Political Influence explores the development and use of social media in influencing politics and society.
The media influences politics by helping to shape public opinion. The United States has a democratic government, meaning that the people vote to elect leaders and change laws based on the majority. When these voters rely on the mass media to assist them in developing an opinion for determining a vote, the media influences politics.
In another early study, Livingston and Eachus highlighted the extent to which media appeared to simply reflect the policy agendas of government officials, as opposed to setting the foreign policy agenda in the way suggested by the CNN-effect thesis. Examining the case of Operation Restore Hope in Somalia 1992-93, they found that US media reporting of the crisis actually followed the cues of US government officials who had been attempting to draw attention to the crisis there. They concluded that, rather than media driving the intervention, journalists were actually conforming to more traditional patterns of indexing, whereby their coverage was indexed to the viewpoints of US officials who were already persuaded of the need for intervention in Somalia. In sum, political agendas were influencing the media much more than media were influencing politics.As a result of strong media influence on political elections, it is said that the system has become more transparent. The ideas, manifestos and mandates of different political parties and political candidates can be clearly and transparently presented for the general public. Media plays an important role in the election campaigns. It has a strong influence on overall election process. Political parties and political candidates are more careful than ever because they cannot hide anything from media and people anymore. In fact, people and political candidates both gain with the help of media.The media has influenced politics throughout American history. The most prominent—and notorious—example is the role of William Randolph Hearst’s newspapers in starting the Spanish-American War in 1898. According to the legend, Hearst’s papers ran many stories chronicling the cruelty of Spanish colonial rule. When the American battleship Maine exploded under mysterious circumstances, Hearst seized the moment, alleging that the Spanish had destroyed the ship. War soon followed. Few media moguls have this much direct influence, but with media consolidation, some worry that the media has too much power.