8.3d Government Watchdog
The news media plays also the vital role of "watchdog"
over the government, looking out for instances of malfunction and
corruption. The public would have far less control over the affairs
of the city, state and national government without the probing questions
of investigative reporters. Revelations by the press have led to
important congressional investigations. Thus Carl Bernstein and
Bob Woodward are widely acclaimed for revealing the Watergate issue.
Reporters often uncover evidence of unethical and sometimes illegal
conduct of officials, thus causing the resignation of high government
officials. Although the media has been criticized for holding a
"liberal bias" Democratic and Republic administrations
have been closely observed by the media.
Another important function of mass media is to illuminate the social fabric and to influence the shape of its pattern. Various aspects of our habits, desires and relationship, both as individuals and as groups, are examined by the media; thus it helps in shaping our social values. Getting along with the neighbors, personal problems, our taste in popular music, racial tensions, athletics, interior decorating, trends in fashion and the beliefs of religious groups are constantly the subjects of reporting and discussion by the press, books as well as radio and television programs. The Congress as well as the FCC, for instance, have booked television networks to tone down the violence depicted in programs. Editors always face the problem of the type of material to be selected for printing and broadcasting, so as to use its influence on social action, more responsibly.
8.1 The Evolution of the Mass Media
Structure of the Mass Media and Government Regulation
8.3 The Functions of the Mass Media
8.4 The Mass Media and Political Coverage