Essay on Media’s Impact on Political Violence in the USA: Causes, Mechanisms and Effects

Published: 2021/11/16
Number of words: 2201

Media is of paramount importance in any society because the country’s economic, social and political aspects are usually directly related to the media. Politicians usually collaborate with the government in order to mobilize their agenda to the general public. Just like a couple of global nations, United States has witnessed political violence since its colonial inception to the modern days. For example, the great civil war that erupted in 1861 to 1865 led to massive deaths and destruction of property. Other violent acts followed in the country in which media was incorporated to some extent. Hence the essay will establish the mechanisms employed by the media which triggers political violence, effects of the political violence in the United States. It will also provide recommendations for the Medias conduct.

The media has occasionally reported unconfirmed and unedited political news. For example, during the great civil war in the late eighteenth century, the media could deliver unauthentic information to the general public. Such information was susceptible to creating tension and repulse, especially by the hunt group. In such a scenario, the media creates the basis for the battle due to their irresponsibility when disseminating information.

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Evidently, some media houses have publicly depicted their biases through taking partisan sides. For example, media presenters openly pledging their support to certain personalities hence generating unease amongst the general public. In such instances, some followers defect from their platforms and launch opposing force against the media house. This results in friction among members of the general public culminating in political violence. Even if the media were partisan, they shouldn’t let the general public know because tension would always erupt in the midst of their follower (Newton, 2006).

Majority of political players in the United States are rich individuals who probably propelled from the business community. Their commanding strength has propelled to the extent of owning some media houses, therefore, possess a unanimous control over such firms. Such political leaders usually direct the crew on what to report and what to leave out, therefore, they’ve been in a pole position to control the information being disseminated to the general public. These leaders have been accused of politically castigated violence in the country

The press has had the opportunity to host opposing leaders in media houses who have taken their fight to the general public. The hosts, being unable to control their egos, usually lash out at each other with their scathing rants and insults as the general public follow. Sadly, the followers turn each other as they fight for their such instances, the media’s reluctance to control their rival guests castigates political violence in the country. To hold rivaling sides, one ought to lay ground rules in order to maintain sanity in the media house. “In this particular case, we can’t really know whether such shootings would have taken place had there not been this recent history of fairly nasty political exchanges in the press.” Says Craig Anderson from the center for violence study at Iowa State University.

Collusion amongst the media giants and government opposition sides has been witnessed during the ancient days in the United States. The opposition side at times might be so determined to oust the ruling party without following the right channel hence prefers to join hands with a powerful media power (Newton, 2006).

The influence of the media against the ruling government in support of the opposition will initiate chaos between the government supporters and opposition fanatics. Attempted coups hardly happen under peaceful background therefore they would always retaliate as the opposition pushes for their exit. For example, the attempted coup in the 1841–1842, Dorr Rebellion had actually conspired with the media to overthrow the sitting government but unfortunately their efforts were shut down. As a result of the rebels, innocent people lost their lives as the ruling regime fought back in aid to retain their leadership. The media, therefore, was the basis for relying on information to the general public that resulted in chaos.

Media houses are used as the main campaigning platforms by the majority of the politicians. For example, depicting aspirants’ photos, manifesto and other properties on the national televisions for the general public to see. In such a case they may cause uproar amongst the public if the aspiring leader has a bad reputation.

Effects of political violence to the country

Despite getting their reputation tainted, the media houses participation in the political arena has a lot of repercussions to our country. The media powers might even get closed or have some of their platform basis such as the newspapers disbanded from the general public for their biasness. The existing government might also recommend for the companies to have their practicing licenses revoked. Therefore, apart from the country itself, the media houses are extremely affected hence putting their future in jeopardy.

Political violence culminates into leadership crisis in the country. The potential leaders engage in an endless quarrel over who should run the country because everyone perceives the competitor as an incompetent. For example the attempted coup of the year 1841, the opposite side had a general feeling that the incumbent was underperforming. This heightens rivalry amongst the leaders and the electorates as constitutional crisis looms on the horizon. During political crisis, the tension in the country is usually high as there is no understanding amongst them and everyone feels that their ideas are better off (Newton, 2006).

Political violence is coupled with massive destruction of property and the loss of lives. The country’s very innocent group such as women and children are vulnerable to be put in the danger of a massacre. Numerous deaths are therefore likely to be registered as the opposing groups’ battle in clashes. A lot of property is also subjected to destruction because the civilians will be out expressing their frustrations. For example, the great civil war in the United States back in 1862 that preceded the First World War led to numerous loss of lives and massive destruction of properly hence the country retrogresses on its development agenda.

Political violence culminates poor international relationship with the neighboring countries. Most countries would never want to be associated with a nation that cannot maintain peace in their own backyard. In such circumstances, the country would be marginalized by other nations, who view peaceful coexistence as an important value for their development. The Frosty relationship amongst countries will deter movement across the borders hence the nations may not rely on each other’s human personnel (Newton, 2006).

Emigration and collapse of social institutions will be on the rise as people scuffle for their safety. For example, during the great civil war in the states back in 1862, a lot of people fled the country in search of their safety. The social institutions such as marriage and other institutions are paralyzed as people are dislocated from their home grounds. Most activities in the country will also be paralyzed as citizen’s flock other countries.

Political violence usually bring leaning in the country to a standstill since without peace students cannot trace a conducive environment to pursue their dreams, therefore, the learning institutions will also come to a standstill. Emigrants will also be subject to a squalid living condition as they get to the neighboring nations. Living in migrants’ camp is usually a turmoil especially to the young one who usually require special attention as they grow. The environment is susceptible to disease outbreaks since the very basic social amenities may not be available.

Political violence succumbs the domestic commercial activities since businesses cannot be run in a hostile environment. The local business firms are faced with a lot of uncertainty because their market niche is disrupted as people flee to safer places. As a result, the overall output recorded by the firms’ drops drastically, for example, the great civil war in the United States, people vacated the country in large numbers living local manufacturers and other businesses with limited target markets. Unfortunately, the business owners were also forced to close their firms and flee for their safety.

Following political clashes, the nation is withdrawn from global treaties by the other countries. Development and peaceful ties are adversely affected because the country depicts to the global world that they cannot manage their own. In such cases, critical development agendas are not shared with them hence being marginalized. The country would also be on the danger of exposure in that in case of external attacks, other nations may not chip in for assistance. Being ejected from both development and peaceful treaties leaves the country more vulnerable to attacks and lagging behind in progressive development (Bryant, 2009).

With continued political violence, citizens and the country, in general, lacks basic imported products from other countries. It proves challenging to engage in commercial activities with politically troubled nations because accessing the country itself is pretty hard. For example, during the great civil war of 1862, foreigners could not import products in the country due to the lack of peaceful coexistence in the country.

Imperative products such as coal from Nigeria proved hard to get into the country hence putting the citizens in jeopardy. Products like coal are very crucial raw materials in other industries such as the energy sector, therefore, the shortage would be a major blow since the firms would have to suspend their operations.

Political violence would be reflected in our country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and the dollar valuation. Clashes are a detriment to the country’s economic growth because people would have to abandon their jobs and focus on saving their lives first. In such a scenario, the contribution made by citizens towards the economic growth is cut short hence the nation’s gross domestic product drops drastically. In the international financial markets also, our local currency is compared with those of other countries for valuation. Due to low investments in the country, the dollar value goes down prompting potential investors not to invent with our currency (Bryant, 2009).

Political violence creates an ideal opportunity for looters and other heinous habits, not even domestically but to the country’s foreign establishments. Opportunistic criminals get the chance to amass wealth illegally to utilize them once the chaos subsides. For example, in the great civil war, a lot of soldiers, instead of restoring the nation to sanity they engaged in amassing property whose owners had fled. During the political differences between the United States and Iraq, their criminals took the opportunity to bomb the American embassy to Kenya hence killing innocent people.

Recommendations for media conduct

Over the years, the media ought to be held accountable for a good number of political clashes that have been witnessed in the country. However, there are moral and rational operation standards that the press need to observe in order to tame or minimize future political mayhem in our country while promoting peaceful coexistence amongst the nationals.

The press needs to be non-partisan and promote oneness and unity amongst the citizens. Establishing operational codes that focuses on unifying the nationals would absolutely shun political violence in the country. The media need to let politicians play their dirty game of politics and mobilize citizens to embrace each other as brothers and sisters. It should be all about cordial relationship.

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Media need to verify, edit and confirm their news before disseminating them to the general public. Unconfirmed news has been the basis for clashes in the country prompting fights. Also, information that seems to divide the general public on the basis of political lines needs to be abandoned absolutely in order to lay grounds for peaceful coexistence (Bryant, 2009).

New policies need to be put in place to shun politicians from controlling media houses since they make their independence questionable. Policies prohibiting absolute ownership of media houses by the politicians should be put in place. With such measures, the media is less likely to be biased in their work.


In conclusion, media should be held accountable to a great extent for the political violence witnessed in the country for their irresponsibility. Allowing politicians to control them, being bias on their work, reporting unconfirmed information and their premises being used by politicians to air their ambitions are some of the mechanisms that prove media’s faults. Political violence has proved to be a major blow to the country in general, from a bungled economy, loss of lives, emigration cases, and poor diplomatic relationships and tumbled international trade. The media, however, can implement rational policies to vindicate themselves and avoid a future crisis as they are linked to politicians and the general public.


Bryant, J., & Oliver, M. B. (Eds.). (2009). Media effects: Advances in theory and research. Routledge.

Galster, G. C. (2012). The mechanism (s) of neighborhood effects: Theory, evidence, and policy implications. In Neighborhood effects research: New perspectives (pp. 23-56). Springer Netherlands.

Rucinski, D., & Salmon, C. T. (1990). The ‘other ‘as the vulnerable voter: A study of the third-person effect in the 1988 US presidential campaign. International Journal of Public Opinion Research, 2(4), 345-368.

Newton, K. (2006). May the weak force be with you: The power of the mass media in modern politics. European Journal of Political Research, 45(2), 209-234.

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