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Public Opinion and Mass Media
Guide: Mass Media and Politics

This collection of resources highlights the role the mass media plays in shaping public opinion about political issues. Included in the collection are a variety of primary and secondary sources to aid students' understanding of such topics as different types of mass media, the media's power to influence political opinions, the important contributions of investigative journalism, and the challenges posed by media bias. Use the Export to My Lists button above to turn this into a research list for your students.

Theme Key Understandings

  • A government's structure determines how political parties will form and operate
  • Political parties strongly influence the operation of democratic governments
  • Media, public opinion, and policy are interrelated in a democracy
  • The type of media a public consumes influences their understanding of policy and government action
  • Interest groups can be both an effective citizen tool for expression and, if too powerful, a threat to democracy
  • Voting rules and regulations affect election outcomes
  • Interpreting campaign contributions as free speech allows those with money greater access to lawmakers

Key Questions

  • How does the media people consume impact their political views and, ultimately, public opinion?
  • Unlike such early forms of mass media as newspapers and radio, television and the Internet allow people today to see political figures speak and interact. In what ways do you think the introduction of these media forms changed the way we view and evaluate political figures or politics?


  1. Overview: Mass Media and Politics
  2. Outline: Outline
  3. Transcript: Transcript
  4. Lesson: Introduction
  5. Lesson: 1-Mass Media and U.S. Newspapers
  6. Lesson: 2-Radio and Television
  7. Lesson: 3-News, Internet, and Social Media
  8. Lesson: 4-Investigative Media
  9. Lesson: 5-Challenge of Media Bias
  10. Lesson: Closing
  11. Glossary Terms: investigative journalism
  12. Photos & Illustrations: New-York Daily Tribune (1854)
  13. Photos & Illustrations: CNN newsroom (2001)
  14. Photos & Illustrations: Watergate: Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein (1973)
  15. Reference Articles: Politics and Media Influence
  16. Reference Articles: Internet and the Media
  17. Reference Articles: Elections: Social Media
  18. Reference Articles: Media Bias
  19. Reference Articles: Newspapers
  20. Political, Government & Court Documents: New York Times Co. v. United States (1971)
  21. Political, Government & Court Documents: Pentagon Papers (1971)
  22. Newspapers & Magazines: Hearst, William Randolph: reports from Cuba (1898)
  23. Speeches: Vietnam Panel Discussion: Media and the Role of Public Opinion, excerpt

MLA Citation

"Mass Media and Politics." History Hub, ABC-CLIO, 2019, historyhub.abc-clio.com/Search/Display/2156139. Accessed 23 Aug. 2019.

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Entry ID: 2156139

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