How much does your vote really count? As a voter, does your choice really matter? How much influence does the media have on your vote? How many choices does the media actually make when it comes to our nation's leadership? These are questions pondered by both political scientists and the average American citizen each year as the second Tuesday in November approaches. Though we know that the framers founded this nation on the principles of representing it's citizens, and on the ideals of a nation for the people and by the people; it is obvious that the people feel that their vote doesn't always count. In this paper I plan to expand on these questions and the justifications behind asking them, and I plan to follow up with a specific example in which the media played a highly significant role in the choice of high government officials.
How much does your vote really count? Does your choice really matter? According to the framers, your choice does matter. They say that one man equals one vote. Congress also seems to believe that the American vote should count. They have passed Amendments to the Constitution in order to give more people the chance to vote and the chance to make a choice of their representatives. But why then does the people actually directly elect so few officials? Perhaps they agree with the ideas of Converse and Lane and are using voting only as a way to attempt to get the citizens out of the voting slump they seem to be in. Converse stated that voters are minimally informed, minimally capable, and therefore incompetent of voting. Lane claims that this is not the problem, but that instead, voters are simply lazy in their ideology. (Muraca, July 13, 1999) I tend to agree with both, but I don't feel that the fault lies on the shoulders of the people. Rather, I feel that the burden of voter incompetence lies on the shoulders of the media. Voters are not uninformed perse, but they are limited in the amount in information that...
Cited: Janda, Berry, Goldman. The Challenge of Democracy. Sixth Edition. Houghton Mifflin, 1999.
Muraca, Stephanie, T.. In-class-notes. July 13, 1999.
Shepard, Alicia, C.. "Gatekeepers Without Gates", American Journalism News Link. March 1999.
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