Does the Media Control the Public?
Media, it is the main means of communication, as radio and television, newspapers, and magazines that reach or influence people widely. Anyone who controls any form of media has vast amounts of power over the public. A simple news story can change society’s opinion over a certain topic. However, without the media, we would not get an insight into controversies that are happening half way around the world. If it weren’t for the media, dictators would not be brought to their knees, and answer to the crimes that they have committed.
Whether we know it on a conscious level or not, we are being influenced by the media, whether you think you are not being affected, you are at some level. It is not only about the way we look, but also the food we eat, the things we buy and our concept of happiness, love, and sadness.
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Everywhere one goes they see magazines, billboards, television shows, commercials etc. , and these are the things that we want in life. This is similar to the social cognitive learning theory, essentially monkey see monkey do. Trends and fashion statements are shown in the media and then society often follows them up.
Children are vulnerable and susceptible to this influence from the media, especially with the amount of exposure to the level of communication, and technology that is available to them in this day and age. Companies spend millions of pounds each year on TV advertisements, so that they can sell and in return gain millions of pounds profit. This is a form of communication used to encourage or persuade an audience to perform a certain action. Advertising messages are usually viewed via various traditional media; including mass media such as newspaper, magazines, television commercial, radio advertisement, outdoor advertising or direct mail.
We are accustomed to see people with rich people with skinny bodies and faces due to airbrushing and surgery, and that is what we strive for. Skinny is often seen as a luxury, a sign someone can afford the gym, and healthy foods, when many years ago being heavy was a sign of luxury, that one could afford to eat. The reason why think this way, is because of media advertising, whereas before, being ‘big’ would demonstrate your wealth as you could buy a lot of food, now being skinny is what considers you to be rich. However, it is not only the companies that use this technique to make eople buy their products, governments also use this technique to make the public commit to their ideas. During World War 2, Nazi’s used the media to justify their course, and so did a multitude of other countries. Media manipulation has been going on for many years, and especially with today’s media it is very easy to spread propaganda and even easier to make people believe it. For example, every year, a state-owned publishing house releases several cartoons called geurim-chaek in North Korea. The plots mostly feature scheming capitalists from the United States and Japan who create dilemmas for naive North Korean characters.
Governments find this very easy to make the public do what they want, without them actually knowing it consciously. As opposed to providing certain information to showcase, propaganda, in its most basic sense, presents information primarily to influence an audience. Propaganda is often dispersed over a wide variety of media in order to create a chosen influence upon the public, making sure it will be imprinted into the minds of the public. Governments would usually take the current situation, and try and manipulate them in a way that would make the opposition seem at wrong.
They would also sometimes hide information from the public from the country or the world. The media can be easily changed and manipulated to suit a government’s need, just like how it can be changed to only represent one side of the argument, persuading the reader to believe what a certain media company wants them to believe in. Media bias is the perceived biasness of a certain piece of news that has been produced by journalists and news producers that are intending to persuade a certain category of people. There are three types of newspapers; right winged newspapers and left winged newspapers.
Right winged news paper companies will usually be against any immigration topics and are usually very patriotic, whereas left winged newspaper companies are quite liberal and diplomatic. However there may be multiple motives for this act, and they quite discreet about which side they are on, as a common lay man would think that the newspaper is telling the truth. Many political parties have influence over a certain newspaper company that will spread their news and propaganda, trying to influence the reader to vote or to support that particular party.
For example ‘The Guardian’ is a left winged newspaper that is the ‘voice’ of the Labour party at the present moment, and ‘The Sun’ is more of a right winged party, and they mainly support the conservative party. It is common practice for newspapers to declare an explicit affiliation with a political party, and affiliated newspapers were explicit in representing their party’s point of view, for example, on the 19th of April 1989, the Sun disgraced the Liverpool fans who had died in the Hillsborough disaster, by stating that many Liverpool fans had pick-pocketed the dead and had urinated upon the dead police officers at the scene.
The Sun was supposed to have recited the very words that a Conservative MP had said in a speech. This sparked many arguments across the globe, and this can show how much damage any media company can do. Smaller newspaper companies also do the same, as they would most likely support the county that they are in, rather than supporting some other county. For example if you were to compare a football review between the two teams’ local newspapers, both of them would tell a different story, as they are biased towards the side that they support.
However, without the media we would not be informed about what is happening across the globe, and we would almost be ignorant to the events that are happening outside of our local area. By having media, we would be able to gather the voices of a nation, and voice our concerns about a topic. Without the media we would not be able to have any liberty to do anything we want and we would be able to fight back against multinational companies, monarchies, and governments. For example, in Libya, Muammar Gaddafi was using his own private military and army to rule over the country with fear, to dictating the country.
It helps us learn more about the world as well as interacting with each other. Without the force of the country upon him voiced by the media, he was being pressured to step down; he could have still been in power today if it weren’t for the media. We are in an age whereby we have such amazing technology that allows us to access pretty much any point of the globe without stepping out of our house. The media helps us understand both sides of the argument, and not all of the news companies are biased. If it weren’t for the media, we would have been a single-minded society, only thinking a certain way.
We would be able to be equal, with certain groups thinking that one group is better than another, and eventually it will end up in a fight, and then leading onto wars, for example in World War 2 (1939-1945), Adolf Hitler had discriminated the view that all Jews were ‘parasites’ and that they were stealing all of the jobs available, and that they are the reason for the bad economy. The media give us a common ground where we can all talk about, reflect and form opinions about the world at large; environmentally, politically, socially, and culturally.
Without using media, politicians would not be able to convey their message across. The media also helps suffering countries in a time of despair, and warns us about casualties that have happened in an accident or disaster. The media will inform us and it could make a difference to the people in need, as it will provoke us to raise money via charities hence helping the people in need. If it weren’t for the media, it would be difficult for the charities to communicate their messages. However, in the end it’s all about our choices and what concepts we choose to subscribe to and adopt as ours.
But I personally believe that media does have a big involvement in the everyday lives of the public, and we are very much influenced by that. Governments today still use the media to convey their messages. I am not stating that we don’t need the media; we need to have media in our lives, as it will give us a chance to interact and have knowledge about what is going on around the world. So in conclusion, I believe that although we will need the media in the future, we should not believe all of it, and we should act upon our own opinion-not something that someone else is telling us.