What are the advantages of interest groups?
Interest groups are organizations with individuals who have a common political goal and come together to influence government decisions and policies (King and Walker 5). They present a particular perspective that the public might not be aware of or might not be readily available to the general public. They may consist of professionals who enable them to influence the government.
Interest groups are usually committed to pursuing a particular agenda, with an aim of awakening and generating awareness as well as enabling a better understanding of, particular concerns for both the general public and even the decision-makers. The issues or opinions they raise may create conflicts but enable the general public and the decision-makers in the government and other sectors of the economy to define and refine theses issues raised. The issues they raise sharpen understanding and encourage informed debate among the general public and help reshape commitment to actions that are for the good of the public.
Interest groups provide checks and balances on the government and government officials. They ensure good corporate governance, transparency, as well as public accountability (King and Walker 5). They ensure that arguments are transparent and are supported by facts and that these facts and data are readily available and easily accessible to the general public. They set an example to the public by making their leadership be publicly known to the public as well as legally accountable to the public.
Their lobby activities are transparent, and they publicly declare their funding sources after a certain period, which may be quarterly, annually, and so on. Their financial reports are presented to the appropriate government agency for public accountability.
Interest groups provide access to important government decisions to those who might be affected and therefore help protect individual liberty. They enable the affected group or the minority group to achieve more political recognition, which will in turn enable them to achieve better protection. They influence the interest groups may enable the affected group to receive more government resources, which are beyond their national strength.
The interest groups keep the nation together despite the political conflicts that usually surround government policy. They fight to address issues of disparity inequality and equal representation and participation by the general public since they provide opportunities for public concerns to be recognized and addressed. They work to promote civil and economic rights of the disadvantaged groups such as those disadvantaged by; age like children or the aged, ethnicity or race, gender, and even sexual orientation. They also fight for the disadvantaged groups who have been denied their constitutional rights and those discriminated against by law, culture, and social system.
Interest groups lobby the US federal government to support them influence national policy, which is for the benefit of the general public (King and Walker 5). They publicize problems that have been overlooked in society and encourage the general public to exert more pressure on the government policymakers to influence policy decisions and get laws implemented for the good of the public. These interest groups normally target the attention of the president and other executive offices in the government and create strong relationships with policy regulators. They also provide detailed and useful information to the government, which is aimed at influencing or helping the government reshape their actions or policy.
They also find alternative means of influencing government policy by influencing appointments of government officials who are sympathetic to their course. They ensure that the person appointed shares their political views or concerns. They also endorse and support candidates who share their views and can influence government policy.
Interest groups such as environmental groups, religious groups, consumer groups, and many other interest groups work to influence the government to create collective goods and services which help or benefit the general public (David & Jack 7).
Explain the function of political parties in the United States
A political party is a group of people who share a common political view or agenda and aim to control the government by winning in an election to acquire the privilege and opportunity to hold public office. However, they may not all share exactly similar views. Their major aim is to keep the government from taking extreme positions that may only benefit a small portion of the public. In the United States, political parties have five major functions (Maisel, 144).
Their major role is to join the general public, who hold similar views about governance and the government. Just like the interest groups, they work to influence the government, but unlike the interest groups, the campaign for their members to be elected to government positions. These functions include nominating candidates for office, acting as the government and public business watchdog, and providing a basis for how the government should be conducted, they seal approvals for their candidates and also keep the general public informed (Maisel 144). They also monitor the performance and conduct of their representatives in the office.
Political parties nominate their candidates for various political seats or may name candidates in special cases where the candidates have no competitors during nominations to represent the party. The party endorses the candidates and gives a stamp of approval to candidates. They campaign for their candidates and help sway votes for them to win the public office.
They also endorse their candidates who have good character and are qualified to hold public office by stamping the seal of approval. They monitor the performance and conduct of their candidates who hold and represent them in public office and ensure that they respect the code of conduct as per the requirements of the government.
Political parties also play a major role in providing oversight role on the government. They provide the basis for the operations of the government and also act as the government’s watchdog. They monitor the conduct of the government or the public’s business.
Political parties also perform an informer-stimulator function. They ensure that they inform the general public on key issues that stimulate their interests and, also encourage their participation in public matters. They inform and share ideas with the general public on matters affecting them and the nation as a whole and keep them informed on the nation’s current affairs and provide stimulating support for the general public.
Describe how the evolution of media has revolutionized public access to information
Initially, the media disseminated information to the general public through newspapers and magazines only. These media outlets majorly focused on local news, and besides, they did not give much information concerning public issues as well as national news (Coffman and Odlyzko 1). During this time, newspaper reporting was characterized by biased reporting since most of them relied on the support of politicians and government officials implying that these newspapers reported by the wishes and views of the government officials who supported the paper. However, with time, the number of newspapers in the US has declined with the rise in information communication technology levels (Coffman and Odlyzko 1). Information can now spread quickly and easily.
The media revolutionized access to information to the general public. The development of radio, television, and the internet has increased public access to information and the media’s access to the public. The public can now access information more frequently since the media today can chip in news updates in their regular programs in the numerous television and radio stations that are committed to giving news updates 24 hours a day (Coffman and Odlyzko 3). The internet also provides the public with the opportunity to access information and news updates.
The media revolution has improved access to information as well as educational information, particularly through the internet, which enables the public to acquire a better understanding and make more informed opinions on issues. The education enables the general public to acquire wider perceptions on issues and therefore make more logical arguments.
The media provides political information and works to focus the public attention on some issues which affect them or are bound to affect them and help shape public opinion. Politically, they help candidates become less dependent on their parties and to focus their attention on the public. The media has changed the way people campaign and the way the public judges those campaigning.
The media revolution has also involved merging various media to increase the public’s ability to acquire information. Major networks have been merging with large media corporations as well as telecommunication companies, and are working hard to ensure they access the public and that the public easily accesses information.
The media uses communication channels such as television, radio, newspapers, and the internet and among others to communicate and influence the general public. They provide credible opinions on particular public issues, which strengthens the public knowledge and understanding of issues. They present both professional and public views on public affairs. They present more sides of issues, which make it easier for the general public to make informed opinions and decisions.
The media revolutions that have taken place, particularly in terms of increased technology give the public the opportunity and ability to create and share information. Technology enables the media to obtain information from the government, which may not be easily accessible to the general public or readily available to the public and informs the public on matters which are bound to affect them. This ensures that information is not easily suppressed from the general public.
The media can also be used as a political tool. Apart from political campaigns, the media can be used for political censorship in some states. Political groups and activists use the media to carry out their political missions. They can organize their activism and accomplish their objectives through the media. They can carry out media forums through the internet and other forms of media channels. This enables politicians, professionals, experts, and interest groups to influence the general public and the government.
Coffman, Kelvin and Odlyzko, Geoffrey. The size and growth rate of the Internet. AT&T Labs, 1998. Web.
King, David and Walker, Jack. The Provision of Benefits by Interest Groups in the United States. Austin: University of Texas Press. 1992. Print.
Maisel, Sandy. American Political Parties and Elections: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2007.