Media plays a very important role in forming voters’ opinions in an election process. In fact, most candidates get recognition because of the media coverage they get, or else they might go unknown. Most of the time media plays the role of a ‘watchdog’ and keeps an eye for all significant events taking place in the political, geographical, and economical spheres. People look up to television channels and newspapers to get their hands on the latest bit of information.
Especially with a virus on the loose, people are relying more and more on media to stay up-to-date regarding the election-related activities in America. Therefore, it is right to conclude that media does influence the election process of a country and can have an impact on the outcome too. How exactly media do that? Let’s find out.
Different Ways Media influences The Election Process
Following are some of the ways media influences the election process:
By Educating the Masses
The first way media influences the election process is by educating the masses about every aspect of it. From process to the number of candidates, controversies to latest developments, every single detail is rolled out in front of the audiences with a context and analysis approach. It is the media that keeps the audience updated about what President Trump and Joe Biden are up to!
When a news anchor or column writer presents the audience with details of an event from their viewpoint in contextual analysis, the audience listening to them or reading their words would form a biased opinion. They would either agree to their facts or strongly disagree with them. Therefore, their opinions would be formed on the basis of perception created in their minds of the candidate and the anchor both in light of events and the extent of their truthfulness.
The election process and opinion of masses is further shaped when media personnel ask for their opinions via polls or hold a direct question-answer session in their live programs. When people are able to communicate directly with media persons and form a connection with them, their opinions are very subtly influenced.
Other ways used to influence opinions and election processes by media include taking expert inputs on a certain event or ask them to comment on that, assessing a candidate and his party’s past performance, and assessing the needs of people and communities by investigating them in public places.
By Providing a Platform for Election Campaign
Another way media influences the election process is by allowing its platform to be used for election campaigns by various political parties. It is the right of each political party to have equal access to media to provide information about their party, its manifesto, etc. When media provides them this opportunity and allocates a portion of its time to whichever the candidates decide to use their platform, they indirectly influence the election process.
Sometimes, the media decides to showcase a certain political party more than the other and cuts the on-air time for the other one which is a biased move. This results in people being exposed to a one-sided view most of the time and their opinions are once again shifted without them even realizing.
It is important to note here that people’s opinions can be influenced both ways because of such practices. They can either side with the political party they think is being wronged or not. Therefore, balanced reporting is also mandatory for media when it is being used as a platform to showcase the election campaign alongside equal access to state broadcasters.
By Providing A Platform To Masses For Voicing Their Opinion
When media giants reach out to the masses and provide them a platform to voice their unheard opinions, it influences the election process by putting pressure on political parties and candidates about what people want.
It does so by allowing people to get their resentments with the previous government notified or state their expectations with the upcoming governments. Media also achieves this goal by allowing the masses to critically evaluate the voting options they have. The reporters may either prompt people by asking such questions or present a situation and then ask the general public to comment on it.
In this way, then the popular opinion is heard which may or may not be in favor of certain political candidates, it allows the political parties to reassess their goals and strategies and may even elicit a response from them.
By Being Transparent
The last way in which media influences the election process is by being as transparent as possible with people. To report all incidents and events with an unbiased view influences the election process by updating people on the developing stories and informing them where the election process is headed in the future. This role of media is often termed as the ‘watchdog’.
Role Of Media In Election Process And The Digital Era
Besides the traditional role, media in digital times can influence the election process by making use of social media platforms too. Holding live sessions, polls, debates, and contests all can influence popular opinion. Aside from these, candidates’ own websites and social media presence also play a role in influencing young minds.
All of these help in educating voters about the potential political candidates and how to exercise their right of voting. It also helps them in staying updated and informed about each of the partaking parties’ agendas and reflect on it in the light of ongoing global scenarios.
To sum it up, the media helps people shape their opinions and keeps them informed. It also keeps an eye on the transparency of the election process itself by reporting minute by minute developments and through live coverage. It allows parties to debate with each other and holds open-ended discussions with participants.
Moreover, the role of media in highlighting public problems and what they expect of their future leaders play a great role in shaping up candidates’ future strategies, thus influencing the election process by large.
If fulfilled rightly, the role of media in the election process can provide a stage for the right candidate to be highlighted and elected by the masses. However, if performed with biased views the role of media can definitely influence the opinion of masses in favor of one candidate over the other, regardless of their merits.