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Mass media are defined as any means of communication that reach a large number of people. Media scholars distinguish between two basic kinds of mass media: print media and broadcast media. Print media includes books, pamphlets, magazines, and newspapers while broadcast media includes television, radio, and the Internet. For most of American history, print media served as the public’s primary source of political information. Although news audiences have largely abandoned print media in favor of broadcast media over the last 4 decades, newspapers are widely read by political elites, drive the agendas of broadcast outlets, and provide the most substantive discussions of public affairs. This entry briefly reviews the history of the American print media, the democratic responsibilities of the press, and the ever-evolving ...

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