The media serves a critical role in the society including provision of news/ information, entertainment and educating the masses on various issues. Information is important to the society largely because it helps in not only decision-making but also in formulating opinions. Entertainment is equally critical to the society as it helps people relax after the day’s work. Society needs education on various issues. Society can be educated on rights; moral, and social responsibilities and the media provide all these (Gorman & McLean 43). Therefore, the role of the media in the society is so huge that it cannot be ignored.
Although the current media is highly saturated, it was not the case in the past. As recently as 1960s and 1970s, TV, for instance, had only three networks (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 1). Unlike today, the channels tailored their programs to meet needs of middle-class families. It was also the case that some middle-class did not even have a television. Consequently, the content aired by TVs at that time was very limited. Today, TV is quite affordable and can be found in most homes. Programming has also been diversified to serve the needs of different target audiences in terms of ages, incomes, backgrounds and attitudes (Rosengren 67-68).
This theory posits that media has a negligible effect on the masses. It argues that people’s decision to watch or read is often influenced by what they already believe and, therefore, media poses a negligible effect on the people. A study to test this theory based on people’s voting patterns indicated that well-informed people depended heavily on their personal experience and reasoning during voting. The media only has influence on the few people that are less informed. This theory is largely criticized following its ignorance of the media’s role in framing the discussion and debate issues. In addition, the theory came at a time when media was far less spread (Leach 65).