How does the media impact the way we look at dictatorships?

By: Grace Blumer-Lamotte

The media’s impact on dictatorships can be both positive and negative.

Dictatorship is “government by a dictator.”

According to the Open Society Foundation, “For years, policymakers and pundits alike have predicted that dictatorships will collapse under the power of the internet and social media.” This has a negative impact. The word collapsing normally is used in situations where things are not going well. The internet is uncontrolled and is typically not monitored. Many things are said on the internet that aren’t ever said in person.

Facebook is another social media platform that has impacted the elections. According to ‘The Atlanta,’ “The potential for Facebook to have an impact on an election was clear for at least half a decade.” Research from Rebecca Rosen’s 2012 story, “Did Facebook Give Democrats the Upper Hand?” showed that, “a small design change by Facebook could have electoral repercussions, especially with America’s electoral-college format in which a few hotly contested states have a disproportionate impact on the national outcome.” On Facebook there is a clear pro-liberal and pro-republican effect implied. This shows based on how many “campaign staffers, reporters, and academics viewed social media.”

The different layers all play a role in the media’s impact overall, the application layer especially. Given the ability to share information can impact the way people look at dictatorships.

According to the National Interest, “Most governments are resistant to change when compared to protest movements, which are nimble, experimental and led by younger voices. Dictatorships often lack ways to understand public opinion.”

I gathered opinions from students. I asked the question: “How has the media impacted your view on the elections in the past?”

A freshman said, “I don’t really keep up with politics. It is a very controversial topic that could end really bad fast.”

A senior said, “I normally follow the person I want to win. I keep up with what they’re saying and doing. I may not be able to vote but I can help persuade the adults in my life to vote.”

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