The mass media

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Mass media

Newspapers, radio, television, and the Internet—including e-mail and blogs—are usually less influential than the social environment, but they are still significant, especially in affirming attitudes and opinions that are already established. The news media focus the public’s attention on certain personalities and issues, leading many people to form opinions about them.

The mass media can _______________  (1) reinforce latent attitudes and “activate” them, prompting people to take action. Just before an election, _______________ (2), voters who earlier had only a mild preference for one party or candidate may be inspired by media coverage _______________ (3) to take the trouble to vote but also to contribute money or to help a party organization in some other way.

The mass media play another important role by letting individuals know what other people think and by giving political leaders large audiences. _______________  (4) the media make it possible for public opinion to encompass large numbers of individuals and wide geographic areas. It appears, in fact, that in some European countries the growth of broadcasting, _______________  (5) television, affected the operation of the parliamentary system. Before television, national elections were seen largely as contests between a number of candidates or parties for parliamentary seats. _______________  (6) the electronic media grew more sophisticated technologically, elections increasingly assumed the appearance of a personal struggle between the leaders of the principal parties concerned. In the United States, presidential candidates have come to personify their parties. Once in office, a president can easily appeal to a national audience over the heads of elected legislative representatives.

In areas where the mass media are thinly spread, as in developing countries or in countries where the media are strictly controlled, word of mouth can sometimes perform the same functions as the press and broadcasting, _______________  (7) on a more limited scale. In developing countries, it is common for those who are literate to read from newspapers to those who are not, or for large numbers of persons to gather around the village radio or a community television. Word of mouth in the marketplace or neighbourhood then carries the information farther. In countries where important news is suppressed by the government, a great deal of information is transmitted by rumour. Word of mouth (or other forms of person-to-person communication, such as text messaging) _______________  (8) becomes the vehicle for underground public opinion in totalitarian countries, _______________  (9) these processes are slower and usually involve fewer people than in countries where the media network is dense and uncontrolled.


(Adapted from on 24 February 2016)


in this way thus as
for example especially even though
though also not only

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