What role does the media play in shaping public opinion?

Candidates who run for office are well aware of the impact the media has on their campaign. In fact, without the media, most people would know little, if anything, about the people who run for office, much less those who are elected. So, their role is critical, because whether they mean to or not, the media ultimately shape public opinion. The media also play a part in defining the image of a candidate, a critical factor during an election.

ACTIVITY: Former Speaker of the House Tip O’Neil once said, “All politics is local politics.” What do you think he meant? The number one goal of every politician, whenever possible, is re-election. In order to achieve other goals as a politician, members of Congress and the president are constantly thinking about what they can do to get re-elected. Thus, they are constantly making decisions that will appeal to their constituencies back home – either at the state or local level – depending on who they represent. Hence, all their politics is local. Thus, a senator from Louisiana is not going to be as concerned about potato farming as a senator from Idaho would be. Find an article in USA TODAY about a local issue that is being debated on a national level.Write a 3-5 page paper answering the questions below: •How might issues at the local level make their way into the national limelight? •Who or what is the issue? •Who are the advocates? •The opponents? •What stands to be gained? •Lost? •What stance are politicians from your state taking on the issue?Why? •Does their position on this issue appeal to local voters? •Explain why or why not.

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