Politics and the Media

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Jalen Graham

Principles of American Government


April 2014

Politics Affecting Media: Then and Now

For hundreds of years, the United States of America and the whole world have constantly been, in some way, shape, or form, controlled by the hands of the media. From propaganda during Hitler's reign to public opinion in presidential elections, media always seem to play a role in the everyday lives of citizens and their political views. No matter, however, the amount of media presence in their lives, few people question the history, evolution, and magnitude that the media plays today and how it greatly influences the political processes of America and the world abroad.

Hundreds of years before Twitter, Facebook, cable television, and satellite radio, the first newspaper was printed in the small city of Boston, Massachusetts. Filling only three 6x10 inch pages of folded paper, "PUBLIK OCCURRENCES, BOTH FOREIGN AND DOMESTIK, the first newspaper published in America, was printed by Richard Pierce and edited by Benjamin Harris in Boston on September 25, 1690" (Moyers, "Milestones in the History").

Although it was the very first form of media for the colonists, politics in power even then affected the continuation of the paper. It was found that since it was "published without authority from the government, it was immediately suppressed, its publisher arrested, and all copies destroyed" (Moyers, "Milestones in the History"). Such harsh action was taken because of an outraged governor and council claiming that it contained "reflections of a very high nature". The administration went as far as issuing a warning against future publications by "strictly [forbidding] any person or persons for the future to set forth anything in Print without License first obtained from those that are or shall be appointed by the Government to do the same" (Eighteenth-Century). It can be...