The media has significant power in influencing public opinion. This translates in pop culture, which is what the general public most often consumes, but this also translates into politics. The media has a lot of power as a consensus and conflict maker, and I believe that the government uses the media to propagate its own interests. We see that on Fox News as well as CNN and MSNBC. Each news station supports its own bias while still maintaining the position that it’s “fair and balanced.” However, I would say that the public knows that each news station isn’t 100% fair and balanced. This article gives a great overview of the public opinion of news stations. It seems that the respondents do not trust the news stations as much as you might think.
This website shows a research project on the role of the media in the construction of public belief and social change. The article asserts that the “findings across these areas show the way in which the media shape public debate in terms of setting agendas and focusing public interest on particular subjects.” In other words, it is proven that the media shapes public opinion on particular subjects, which encompasses political issues that the government deals with. Therefore, because the media has this type of power, it can be used to influence the public opinion of the masses on political issues.