"The same egalitarian value that is embodied in people's equal right to be self governing and that requires 'one-person/one-unit-of-formal-political-power' applied to the ballot box also applies to the public sphere. The public sphere influences how people choose to exercise their vote. Equally important, through the creation of public opinion, the public sphere should and often does influence how elected and appointed public officials actually exercise their formal decision-making power. In any large society, the mass media constitute probably the most crucial institutional structure in the public sphere."
-- C. Edwin Baker (2007)
Media Concentration and Democracy: Why Ownership Matters 
Photo credit: University of Pennsylvania Law School