What Role Does the Media Play in Politics?

Press release 2The Media is without a doubt one of the most powerful tools of influence for good or evil in modern day politics.

This judgment is based upon years of independent study of the British political model, but simple comparisons worldwide clearly display that the same traits and rules of engagement hold true throughout most western democracies.

To understand my drift of thought, let us consider the British model of some thirty years ago to see why and how this has come about.

In the early 1980’s and for many decades before, British politicians worked in the predominantly hidden world of the Parliament at Westminster and were watched over only by the unique and historical grandeur of the magnificent clock and its bell that we all fondly know simply as Big Ben.

Back then our well respected Captains of Industry, as many still were, we assumed to work for the good of the people and their worldwide successes or failures were predominantly described by Parliament to the Media in a format both tempered and measured to be suitable and fit for public consumption.

In essence the Media with respect to national politics was an instrument merely used by government to convey messages in the style and manner of their dictation.

But as the years progressed the British public’s thirst for an understanding of the underlying facts grew and this surge of demand for knowledge gave the Media the muscle and power to force their way forward in this relationship and by stealth or shear perseverance, they slowly adjusted their position from political message takers to freestyle information gatherers.

This new and well financed generation of Media machine, equipped with state of the art technology and direct access to the rapidly developing World Wide Web, burst forward by leaps and bounds in not only their abilities to gather news, but to distribute it to the far reaches of the globe, 24/7.

Meanwhile as the Media’s abilities snowballed, the British peoples trust in their politicians sank like the Titanic to an all time low. The collapse of public faith in national government was most evident during the first decade of the new millennium and whilst it was not in any way created by the Media their fast track methods and investigative journalism skills effectively exposed the ineptitude of many merely university taught politicians and laid bare the correlation between political and financial incompetence that almost drove the country into financial ruin.

The roles of trust between government and Media were being reversed in the private citizens eyes and it was the Media they began to look to for an understanding of the truth.

The principle of the Media being an unbiased arbitrator for truth from the British politician would not have been a wholly bad thing if that was where the balance remained, however the scales of power to the watchful eye continue to change and the signs of a tipping balance to the Media driving a politicians agenda were already visible for all to see.

The Media had in effect turned full circle in its abilities of being a News gatherer to now become a News creator.

The Media by mobilising mass public opinion could raise issues higher on the political agenda than the matters strategic value could truly merit, issues normally shunned or merely rubber stamped were placed under the media microscope and the findings headlined to demand a maximised political response.

Reasons, motives and purposes were being asked of the national government in a manner that assured a response and soon it became evident that the politicians day began by consulting the Media to determine their own priorities of the day.

The Media has changed from message taker to policy maker, the British public’s mistrust of their parliament was the key, can the newly elected political leaders regain the trust of their people and take back the balance of power or will the Media forever remain on jump ahead?

Only time will tell.

Hobson Tarrant, author of The Peckham Quixote & Looking Forward to the Past in paperback novel form and animator for pleasure of popular music, see Youtube, Hobson was Head Waiter to the Duke of Bedford in the 1970’s, a midnight baker, milkman, goat breeder and failed Welsh village grave digger in the 80’s, Multi million pound turnover company director and creator in the 1990-2004 and then retired to Greece to enjoy all things creative with his long term wife of thirty years plus.
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