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The Importance Of The Media Influence Public Debate

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The first thing one must prove is that the media is an effective vehicle to influence public discussion in a democracy. This is key before examining the motives behind any bias that exists. The reach that different mediums have is the main thing that shows how media can influence public discussion. For example, according to the Pew Research Center, in the United States, 93% of adults get their news from digital sources.1 This includes online-only news outlets along with the digital arms of traditional news outlets. The ease of accessing media outlets is unprecedented when one compares it to previous generations. With the number of people with smartphones growing exponentially in recent years, people are having an easier and easier time to access the news right at their fingertips. It’s not just digital sources that are seeing an increase. News watching on TV’s has also grown over previous years. Neilson Media Research has found that news consumption through television has grown by 45% in 2016 compared to the year before. This also far surpassed previous presidential election years.2 This prevalence of news in the daily lives of citizens is the main reason why media can influence public discussion. Since there are so many people viewing so many different sources, that fall across the political spectrum, there will many different points of view. This difference in perspective will lead to people discussing their differences of opinion, hence encouraging healthy discussion in
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