Media in Democracy

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We probably all agree that we are going through an unprecedented period in the history of our country. There is a lot of talk about the democratization of the United States, about the role of information in the formation of public opinion, of the electoral campaigns, about the campaign strategies in the presidential elections, and even the role played is praised by the media in relation to having propitiated our definitive entrance to democracy. Do not forget that, although this is a period in which we are enjoying an opening that has never before seen in the media, it is also true that a misunderstanding about what the media writes can lead to erroneous conclusions regarding the role of communication and the media in the politics.

In “The Challenge of Democracy” it defines Media as “The means employed in mass communication; traditionally divided into print media and broadcast media.” (Janda, Berry, Goldman, Schildkraut, & Manna, 2015). This modern perspective of the role of communication and the media within the framework of the policy arises naturally from post-war pragmatism, whose objective is to provide solutions to the demands that affect any social system. The means of communication thus becomes a fast and efficient instrument to get the information and give course to social demands along with their possible solutions. Within this pragmatic conception, the role of politics and the media in the taking processes of decisions is, therefore, the product of a crisis of legitimacy of the democratic systems authentically represented by the rational choice theory.

In other words, today we can say that the principles of pragmatism, the concept of competence for analysis of political phenomena and the notion of leadership from negotiation, exchange and motivation criteria were the responses that at a certain moment we have managed to exchange the notion of the vote for that of consumption. Vote then it becomes something similar to exchanging goods. That is why we have developed, gradually, a notion that allows us to accept, without the greatest embarrassment, that analogies between the politician as a commodity and the action of the vote with the consumption are valid, and that they come from totally logical feasible. What is worse, is that political pragmatism and the rational choice theory are responsible not only of the relationship of dependence, negotiation, persuasion and manipulation of the media to their readers and their audiences, but also the notion that the politician is similar to an entrepreneur who following the logic of negotiation resorts to position trading, to management of resources not only material and political but also of the symbolic resources for the formation of winning coalitions. The electoral triumph is therefore synonymous with the sale and management of a public policy that becomes the same as a business negotiation

From this perspective, the Government and politics are tragically similar to the laws of the market, the best politician is which is sold as the best product, the best communication is the one that achieves the best image within the target audience to which it pretends to arrive and the best policy is not the one that favors and ensures the future of the majorities, but the one that convinces them most in the short term.

I do not agree with the idea that the end justifies the means. The democratic transition has been well worth it, but the mechanisms might have been not the best option to get to it. We have to question the authority, the role that we have attributed to the media of communication and the responsibility that we are placing on his shoulders. Ultimately, the choice was ours; it is not going to be that we arrive at wrong conclusions or we are simply dazzled by the phenomenon of informative opening without assuming our own responsibility in the process.

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Media in Democracy. (2019, Feb 15). Retrieved July 13, 2024 , from

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