Psychosocial reality does not exist independently of us in the way that physical reality does (or seems to). People in a group or society construct their reality by endlessly communicating, verbally and non-verbally. Asmust deal with realities, it is natural that the media plays a central role in .
If something is never talked about or referred to then, from a political perspective, it does not exist. So the media’s ability to place and keep matters on the agenda (or remove them) is intrinsic to its political role.
Disputes about accuracy and fairness of media reporting will invariably develop between a free media and powerful groups in any society.
Authoritarian governments seek much control (total if it is possible) over both means of communication (e.g. fax machines, photocopiers, ISPs) and the media (i.e. newspapers, television, radio, Internet). This is because they want a certain version of events or accounts of persons to be the public's reality. Doubt and argument disturb the peace and, at the extreme, threaten instability and state control.
Democratic governments regularly complain of media bias, irrespective of which political party is in power or what parties claim when in opposition. If political parties or their leaders cannot own media outlets themselves, they actively desire sympathizers to own broadcasting channels and popular newspapers.
In plutocratic-pluralist societies, the media depends financially on big advertisers. As a result, it will largely reflect the views of the elites. The mainstream media is reluctant to confront power with truth unless it senses that it can ride on a wave of overwhelming support from the public.
Most governments, both authoritarian or plutocratic-pluralist, can reliably count on a fairly high level of self-censorship and kow-towing by the media.
|Group||Channel of Communication||Media Contribution||Political Phenomena|
|CG-21||Provide reports on an hourly, daily and weekly basis about what the most powerful individuals representing the most powerful groups are saying and doing in pursuit of their goals.||
|CG-22||Media are given access to regular and special briefing events. They also seek and expect a usable account from spokespersons for powerful groups on any important matter.||
|CG-23||These are the foci for investigative journalists, especially if seriously corrupt or illegal actions are suspected.||
|CG-24||The media enable opinion pieces, phone-ins, talk-back, studio interaction, and posting of comments on Internet-published articles.||
|CG-25||The media provide a forum for all to make their cases as best they can.||
|CG-26||The media report events selectively: either taking sides or trying to remain impartial.||
Originally posted: August-2009; Last updated: 5-July-2014.