“Government and Politics Today” by Stephen Schmidt

The program, which I would like to discuss, is called The OReilly Factor. It is considered to be one of the most influential political shows in the country. As a rule, its host Bill Reilly is trying to be impartial, however in this case, one could hardly speak of any impartiality. The topic was the loss of confidence in the US government. Overall, it is quite possible to say that Bill Reilly was rather straightforward and occasionally rather categorical. The show focused on such issues as the responsibility of the present government for economic crisis, the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan and the relations of America with it’s the UK, Germany, and Spain. The overarching theme was the inability of Obama administration to cope with the problems, which the United States is facing now.

Bill Reilly said “It is just a matter of time before the popularity of Barack Obama fall”. Apart from that, the host suggested that the present government should acknowledge its mistakes, which they have already made. Certainly, it was not explicitly stated by the host, but it seems that the main argument, which he tried to advance, was that the president Barack Obama and his team were attempting to shift responsibility on George Bush. Apart from that, the program focused on the US international relations, namely the failure of the president to unite the countrys allies in the struggle against terrorism.

In this respect, I would like to say that the host was not quite accurate in his judgment, because the decisions, made by the governments of the United Kingdom or Germany could have been motivated by some internal problems of these states, and there could be practically no way for Obama administration to persuade them or influence them. In this case, I can speak about deliberate or unintended distortion of facts, and this certainly contradicts the major principles of journalistic profession.

Probably, it is a far-fetched statement but it seemed to me that the host was suggesting that incumbent leader failed to live up to the expectations of the US citizens. At some points, the argument was supported by statistical data, indicating that Americans have lost their confidence and perhaps even respect to the administration. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the purpose of this show was to make the viewers reconsider their previous opinions about current president and administration.

In whole, one may say that the objective of the program was fully achieved because, people who were watching it, could easily change their mind about the rectitude of their choice. Naturally, some of them could come up with counter-arguments, but to the overwhelming majority of them, Bill Reillys evidence were quite acceptable.

One could also note that Bill Reilly was not acting as an objective inquisitor. Naturally, he cannot be regarded only as a news-reporter, and he has every right to express his opinion, but it seemed me that his behavior and especially attitude towards the information that he had presented was slightly prejudiced, which is certainly impermissible for any journalist, because he or she must remain unbiased. Of course, one can hardly accuse Bill Reilly of the violation of journalistic essays because he remained within certain bounds but he should not have been so pessimistic in his treatment of these issues.

To conclude, the show OReilly Factor, dedicated to such issue as the loss of confidence in the US government is a very striking example of how mass media can shape the public opinion without violating the ethical standards of journalistic profession. The special emphasis is placed upon the presentation of the facts and sometimes almost unnoticeable distortions, which can play a very important role,

In his book American Government and Politics Today, Stephen Schmidt argues that the role of mass media in political life of the United States cannot be underestimated. Furthermore, he believes that to some extent almost every decision, which the citizens of the country make, relies on the information which is presented in the press (Schmidt, p 76). In the chapter of his book Campaigns, Elections and the Media the author analyzes the importance of media support coverage and its impacts.

First, it should be mentioned that mass media in the United States began to strengthen their position since the adoption of the First Amendment. This legislation act gives people right to use the press as a means for conveying the ideas to the public, thus political leaders have always paid attention to journalists capacity to influence the public opinion.

One of the most important aspects, which we may discuss, is the electoral process, which starts with the primary campaigns. The candidates must state the major points of their future program. The success or failure of the candidate at the initial stage depends upon the coverage and the interpretation, given by the news-reporters. Additionally, we should not forget about primary elections, when a political party advances its candidate. In such cases, journalist are trying to be more impartial, yet their attitude towards the person determines the outcome of primary elections. Another very important question is fundraising; In this regard, we need to mention PAC (Political Action Committees). Their fundraising capacity depends upon their appropriate or inappropriate use of mass media. Furthermore, we should not forget about Electoral College, and the way in which journalists shape its membership. Furthermore, the media may attract the public attention to voter registration and especially voter fraud. In the majority of cases, the citizens know about the violations of voting procedures from the mass media. In this respect, it is worth mentioning that mass media constantly increase voter turnaround, because they explain all the importance of this process to the population.

It seems that every aspect of electoral process is determined the mass media and its attitude towards it. Some people believe that there choice is completely independent, but such belief is based on common misconceptions, because the success of the candidate in public debates is totally dependant upon the attitude of the host towards the candidate, but we often fail to see it.

Thus, the influence of mass media manifests itself in almost every aspect of social life, and especially in the process of president election, because people base their judgments according to what they listen or hear. The way, in which journalists cover the most important events, determines the attitude of the voter and subsequently his choice.


Steffen W. Schmidt, etc. American Government and Politics Today 2002-2003: Essentials. Thomson Learning, 2001.

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