The mass media have a powerful influence in shaping our lives. We have come to depend on them for information and entertainment, and in doing so we let them affect important aspects of our lives.
The undeniable usefulness of the media in almost instantly providing information about events around the world is largely taken for granted. But in our dependence on the media we have allowed them to mould our notions and opinions of events, places and people. Though few of us probably think about it, our conceptions of, say, our elected officials spring from television images and newspaper stories. Most of us will never meet prime ministers or presidents, but anyone who is regularly exposed to the media will have an opinion of them. When it is time to cast our vote, we will make our decision based on how the media portray the candidates. We are similarly swayed by coverage of wars. The media, representing the values of their owners, societies and governments, tend to report wars with a bias; which is the 'good' side and which the 'bad' is determined for us by reporters, editors and commentators, and sure enough the public begins to form opinions that reflect the coverage they see, hear and read in the major media.
The media are also influential in the way they facilitate the spread of culture and lifestyle. The so-called 'global youth culture', in which one finds young people around the world displaying a common interest in music, clothing styles and films, is an example of the media's enormous sway in this regard. A popular figure such as Michael Jackson would never be so well known were it not for the media's extensive reach into every society on the globe.
Thus I would argue that the mass media's influence is certainly great. Indeed, with technological advancements such as the Internet bringing even more forms of electronic media to our homes and workplaces, it is likely the media's influence will grow even stronger.