Information accessibility has only expanded in the era of the internet, mass media television, and big data firms. Yet surprisingly, the relationship between reality and the masses’s interpretation of current events is increasingly becoming frayed. In terms of the world order, an elite class of leaders, commanders, and businessmen define the parameters of political discourse by restricting the flow of information to press agencies. Print and television news corporations are supposed to inform without injecting bias or misleading the audience. The fact that many news agencies across the world are nationally owned, in addition to the polarization of the american media, indicates a crucial decline in the legitimacy public’s available information. When an average person watches the news, they don’t learn anything new or illuminating about the world but rather reinforce their partisan perspective. To varying degrees worldwide, information is regulated based on legal enforcement mechanisms and social barriers that inhibit counter-incumbent ideologies.
In order to receive reliable real-time information, journalists must be able to relay the truth without fear of repression. There are obvious limits to the accuracy of reports concerning national security issues. The government is unwilling to release the location of special forces deployments or transcripts of negotiations with foreign powers because doing so would compromise core aspects of national sovereignty. As the human population has grown, elites have improvised a process of bureaucratic diversification in order to manage new territory and burgeoning economies. A government can’t hope to restrict all information from the populace. Nations that fit even a thin definition of democracy must allow a free press to report on elections and the economy. Regimes that censor their domestic information networks must also consider the consequences of issuing misleading statements, lying, otherwise obstructing justice, and silencing political opposition. Some leaders approach the dilemma of national control by force and direct repression while others tolerate a certain amount of public dissent.
The vast majority of citizens are completely disconnected from the actors that decide their fates. Polls in the United States reveal that most people are only vaguely familiar with their legislative representatives, executive cabinet officials, Supreme Court justices, and foreign policy positions(1). Learning about and understanding the nature of contemporary politics is more attainable than ever as a result of relatively cost-free dissemination services like fact checkers and Twitter.
The media in the USA does no favors in terms of actually informing the public of its role in politics. As an example, many consider CNN to be a relatively reliable, if not fairly liberal, news station. The network’s chief executive, Jeff Zucker, admitted that Trump drew in better ratings and therefore greater profit at the expense of broadcasting views that ran counter to those of the majority of CNN viewers(2). The two political parties enjoy the public’s misunderstanding of the economy and legal system. Those in power face incentives to suppress news of potentially embarrassing developments. Those who seek legislative reform must command a threshold amount of public recognition before policy goals can be enacted. To the extent that the American presidency controls the availability of information, opposition parties under censorship regimes must walk a fine line between investigative journalism and political revolution.