For democracy to work, citizens obviously have to stay informed about government and politics. But can they assume this responsibility totally by themselves, particularly since none of them experiences political events firsthand? Men and women rely on others, especially the media, for knowledge about what are after all remote, complicated and sometimes mysterious matters. Hence, the "quality" of their understanding depends not only on our personal interests and abilities but also on the extent, depth, and reliability of news coverage. This dependence means that newspapers, magazines, television, radio, and other forms of communication play a key role in informing the public. They are, in a sense, private organizations that play a critical public role.
How well do the media meet their responsibilities? These essays address this issue:
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