The influence of mass media can be observed through a number of examples: public approval of military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq, overthrowing of authoritarian regime of Milosevic in Yugoslavia and other examples. It had been historically formed that media always represent corporative or private interests and that's why it can be effectively used manipulations with public opinion and for creating positive or negative attitude in society. As mass media is often regarded to be a production on the hand with commodities production, a number of political, economical and sociological theories can be applied to explain its influence on society and observe the structure of its functioning and mechanisms of influence.
Today it's obvious that in the most developed countries of the world such as the USA and economical giants of the European Union mass media are owned by corporations and they represent certain political and economical interests of their owners:
"Over the past generation, it has become increasingly clear to those on the left that the U.S. mass media, far from performing an autonomous and adversarial role in U.S. society, actively frame issues and promote news stories that serve the needs and concerns of the elite. Moreover, the importance of the leading corporate mass media in contemporary politics radically transcends the role of the mass media in earlier times. Hence, the Left has begun to pay considerable attention to how the media are structured and controlled and how they operate. Nevertheless, the ideology of the "free press" has proven to be a difficult adversary for left critics; as the media's operations are central to the modern polity, their legitimacy is shielded by layers and layers of ideological obfuscation." (from Robert W. McChesney The Political Economy of the Mass Media Monthly Review, January, 1989)
One of the most exhaustive and full analyses of today's media tendencies was made by Herman and Chomsky in 1988 Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media. In this book both authors propose the propaganda model in contemporary American society, saying that the purpose of media is to "serve to mobilize support for the special interests that dominate the state and private support for the special interests that dominate the state and private activity." (p.11) On the hand with the function of subjective propaganda, media executes other flexible functions as the situation "in a world of concentrated wealth and major conflicts of class interest" (p.1) makes it to do so in order to create at least formal balance of opinions.
The process of establishning mass media is described by Comsky as "the preselection of right-thinking people, internalized preconceptions, and the adaptation of personnel to the constraints of a number of objective filters." (p.17) The main feature of media in the developed capitalist society according to Noam Chomsky is the existence of self-censorship as a part of propaganda model and its dominance over state censorship. It's explained that big media owning corporations often have no reason to contradict the governments and its official policies as often governments serve as guarantees of security of their business. It is the main difference from mass media in authoritarian regimes and most countries of Eastern Europe, where mass media is regulated and officially censored by bureaucracy in to keep only to government-accepted line in covering current