People in democratic countries are asked periodically to make judgments about those who lead them, and sometimes to decide between different policies. People have to know at least something about the politicians, the political parties, and the packages of policy options from which they must choose in an election. Influential actors will deliberately seek to own the mass media, one of the most important agents of political socialization. Contrary to some conspiracy theories, elites are not a homogenous group that set out in concert to manipulate the public. Disagreement exists at the elite level, and people"s minds are not blank screens on which members of the elite are able to inscribe their opinions: people do not have the capacity to think for themselves. It is difficult to counter the values that become dominant at the elite level and that are transmitted to the rest of society.