Media Influence of Public Opinion during War: A Good or Bad Capability?
“More people get their news from ABC News than from any other source,” ABC News proudly boasts. But what exactly do they get? As America delves deeper into the 21st century with an array of social and technological advancements, one facet that continues to impress, revolutionize, and greatly impact American society as we know it comes from the evolution of communication, most notably the digital media. The manner and speed in which news reaches its audiences is even more remarkable than the saturation of the media on the American public. War and the Media, authored by Miles Hudson and John Stanier enlighten the reader with an example of the
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But one statement not often contended, recognizes the media’s ability to not only alter public opinion but shape it. The people of this nation too often accept the information provided by the media to be factual and true rather than as it really is – an entertaining 15 second clip of an issue or event through a reporter’s or news channel’s bias perspective, created to best capture and maintain the attention of its audience. This paper will attempt to explain the impact that the media has attained over the years in significantly affecting public opinion, especially in times of terrorism and war. Secondly, whether the media’s positive role as a source of public information outweigh the negative aspects, including control of public opinion and consequent governmental influence. And finally, at what point should action be taken to censor or limit the ability of the media industry to cover an issue of great national importance. The United States communication system is one of the best in the world, informing every day Americans of every news worthy and often times un-news worthy events. This source of information, arriving continuously into the living rooms of millions of American’s is no doubt invaluable. But case studies of media influence during wartime bring into question the amount of freedom the media industry currently