We’re trying to understand the role of mass media in American politics. That is, the influence of the media on Americans’ political attitudes, beliefs and behaviors.
We want to see how all forms of media – print, broadcast, electronic, Internet, old, new – shape the course of public policy.
Though news media are not an official branch of American government, they are the unofficial fourth branch or fourth estate of government because of the critical role they play in maintaining democracy.
The first three estates of government in the United States are the legislative, executive and judicial branches.
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