The United States probably has one of the most varied and expansive news media industries in the world. Americans have hundreds of cable channels to choose from, thousands of newspapers and magazines, many radio shows, and countless websites and news blogs. With the rise of twenty-four-hour television news stations, most Americans have access to the latest news almost immediately. Because the vast majority of people rely on the media to keep them up to date, the media wields significant power: It decides what is newsworthy and runs or publishes stories accordingly. For these and other reasons, the media is a significant facet of American government. Many people lament media bias, although these same people disagree about which way the bias runs. To understand American politics fully, we must therefore seek to understand the role of the media.

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