Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Mass Media: Informational Pacifier Dangerous?

Johann Christian Fischer by Thomas Gainsborough
Mass Media: means of communication reaching large numbers of people, such as the telly, newspapers, e-news and radio

The media does reach a large number of people with its capacity to disseminate information throughout the world in a short period of time, thus bringing us closer. And that is a positive thing. 
The negative aspect of the means of communication is the pretentiousness of being the owner of truth, when they often omit facts, manipulate information and lack precision. 

We should make the distinction between the press and televised journalism. The first seems to offer more latitude to journalists because they can gather the facts, present them (or not) in the written form, build an opinion and share it; confront individuals or/and governments and comment it. The way I see it, televised journalism is divided into three main categories:
  1.  The transmission of information as it is received, devoid of comment and immune to some amount of bias.
  2. Political interviews. These are often used to misinform, counter-inform, manipulate opinions and confuse the public (specially when interviewers do not ask the proper questions and allow that moment to be the vehicle needed for some politicians to disseminate cheap demagoguery; radical and nonsensical messages). 
  3. Opinion/Comment panels. These can be rather informative and useful to help forming an opinion (since the group usually is composed by several people with different experiences and viewpoints on any given subject). Nevertheless, these too can be intended to manipulate the public: it all depends on the networks’ agenda or political sympathies (proven by the sort of guests invited to form the fore mentioned panels). 
Sometimes, we are under the impression that the media wants to appease certain segments of society and certain Peoples. This role, as a pacifier, can be dangerous because it can influence the way governments make certain political and diplomatic decisions (that sometimes are vital to national security and welfare) lest the emotions are ignited and result in a warfare – all because the mass media often adds fuel to the wrong fire. 

With globalisation, many private news networks (and other mass media companies in general) became public companies; meaning that citizens from all over the world can buy a piece of them and, the higher the number of shares owned the higher is the amount of pressure upon networks to stream information toward a specific direction. Having said this, private means of communication can also represent a means of foreign interference in domestic affairs and foreign policies. 

It is said that the media is the fifth power, but it became so because we (the people) grew thirstier and thirstier of information in our own quest for power (or at least, a vision of it). 

When the media manipulates us, whom is to blame? 

16 comments:

  1. Hi Max,

    Good topic. I think the media is responsible for dispersing at least truthful information, not manipulate truth, but alas the media itself is a business and certain stories are reported for ratings which equals $ales.

    I think we the people should do our best to ascertain truth without the media spin, but that too is a job in itself and many people will accept what is given to them.

    Maybe we should just keep our heads down like ostriches in the bush.

    Self Truth Cheers!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Max, written journalism can be as bias as the televised one. A government may be working just fine, it may implement good policies, but the opposition-media will start the propaganda engine to either smear it or bring it down. Despite the small differences, I'd say that televised journalism is worst than anything: did you watch Fareed Zakaria GPS last Sunday? His interview (to PM Recep Erdogan) was an embarrassment; I mean, he would ask one thing Erdogan would deviate the issue to use that moment to attack Israel, and Fareed Zakaria didn't confront him with the right issues and questions. Fareed Zakaria is bias when it comes to the ME. Wolf Blitzer did the same with that Palestinian Official last Friday (and he's a Jew, he should know better).
    The Media is useful (when it denounces modern slavery, abuse, corruption etc) but it can also be dangerous when it allows itself to be the vehicle of radicals' message.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hey Max

    I think Media is only right at certain level, sometimes they make up the stuff so people can keep their interest in them. It's always a win or lose position. They have to do something in order to survive in their profession. Very Intersting Topic.

    Love
    Sabi Sunshine

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks for coming Max. We are safe and we're doing alright. The storm has left but there's another one coming. :(

    You take care sweetie. *hugs*

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Lady A :D!

    "Good topic. I think the media is responsible for dispersing at least truthful information, not manipulate truth, but alas the media itself is a business and certain stories are reported for ratings which equals $ales."

    Thanks. I agree, but sometimes they also manipulate the truth (specially during elections) - perhaps, this depends on which nations we are speaking of?
    Then there is the kind of truth they choose to present us, or which bits of the truth - that in itself already manipulates truth, wouldn't you think?

    "I think we the people should do our best to ascertain truth without the media spin, but that too is a job in itself and many people will accept what is given to them."

    True.

    "Maybe we should just keep our heads down like ostriches in the bush."

    Heavens, no! To do that in the 21st century is an anathema...people must should get more engaged.

    Lady A, thank you so much for your superb comment :D.

    Press Cheers

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Ana :D!

    "A government may be working just fine, it may implement good policies, but the opposition-media will start the propaganda engine to either smear it or bring it down."

    True.

    "Despite the small differences, I'd say that televised journalism is worst than anything: did you watch Fareed Zakaria GPS last Sunday?"

    I did, I did watch it: I only liked the interview he made to EU President, Durão Barroso (excellent). We can tell that he is quite comfortable with economic issues: I'd say it is his passion.

    "His interview (to PM Recep Erdogan) was an embarrassment; I mean, he would ask one thing Erdogan would deviate the issue to use that moment to attack Israel, and Fareed Zakaria didn't confront him with the right issues and questions. Fareed Zakaria is bias when it comes to the ME."

    I am inclined to agree that the interview was a bit disappointing, because he failed to ask the questions needed to clarify his audience and, he allowed his show to be used as a propagandistic vehicle (which can be dangerous in terms of foreign affairs).
    I wouldn't say that Fareed Zakaria is bias; I'd say he doesn't feel comfortable with that issue; he isn't knowledgeable enough to ask the right questions.

    "Wolf Blitzer did the same with that Palestinian Official last Friday (and he's a Jew, he should know better)."

    lol perhaps he was too astonished at how repetitive (in their victimisation) and mediocre Palestinian Politicians can be. Did you watch President Abbas' UN address?

    "The Media is useful (when it denounces modern slavery, abuse, corruption etc) but it can also be dangerous when it allows itself to be the vehicle of radicals' message."

    I agree.

    Ana, thank you so much for your super comment :D.

    Cheers

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi Sabi :D!

    "I think Media is only right at certain level, sometimes they make up the stuff so people can keep their interest in them."

    True.

    "It's always a win or lose position. They have to do something in order to survive in their profession. Very Intersting Topic."

    Also true. Thanks *bowing*.

    Sabi, thank you so much for your input, girl :D. You were missed.

    Cheers

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi Liza :D!

    "Thanks for coming Max. We are safe and we're doing alright. The storm has left but there's another one coming. :("

    You're welcome, darling. Aah, those are good news: I was a bit concerned.
    Another one? Oh God...I'll pray for you guys :).

    "You take care sweetie. *hugs*"

    You too *hugs*.

    Liza, thank you so much for having let me know your status :D.

    Cheers

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi Max,

    I missed you dear and happy to note you are around my blog again...because I only went back writing just the other day...:)

    Your post here is quite interesting.

    Isn't it obvious that the media is the ultimate manipulator of global issues showed on both the print media and the tube?

    It seems that our fate is in their hands, they can downplay or over do it the other way around. Their influence is very powerful. Maybe I am senselessly talking here but I have some hidden hatred with the media - their consistent biased journalism...

    But when they manipulate us, LET US RATHER BE VIGILANT about it!

    Thanks for sharing your scholarly ideas! Liked this post Max...:)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Max,

    "I only liked the interview he made to EU President, Durão Barroso (excellent). We can tell that he is quite comfortable with economic issues: I'd say it is his passion."

    Then maybe he should stick to economic interviews only.

    "I wouldn't say that Fareed Zakaria is bias; I'd say he doesn't feel comfortable with that issue; he isn't knowledgeable enough to ask the right questions."

    Max, you are too kind...why?

    "lol perhaps he was too astonished at how repetitive (in their victimisation) and mediocre Palestinian Politicians can be. Did you watch President Abbas' UN address?"

    Repetitive and mediocre is an understatement, but it's ok. Yes, I saw President Abbas' speech of continued victimisation and lies. It was obvious that he was trying to please his people

    Shana Tova!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Can't agree with you more...we have created this giant monolith in our quest for unsatiating information thirst and as it happens with everyone sooner than the later every media house takes a side and this is where distorted news start flowing in and since very bit of news is like a fire waiting to catch the bad news usually spread faster than even being said and this is where an independent news regulator needs to step in consisting of members from all the political hues as also eminent social individuals, so that before delivering news it is minutely filtered. In this digital age of the internet, it is easier said than done, but then somewhere it needs to start and spread onto every society to reap its benefits.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Max, I am wondering when the notion of the media as a neutral, scientific observer and unbiased distributer of the facts was first developed. Immediately after the invention of the printing press and for the next few centuries everything was blatantly partisan. Any thoughts on where the unbiased, scientific journalist notion came from?

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi Amity :D!

    "I missed you dear and happy to note you are around my blog again...because I only went back writing just the other day...:)"

    Welcome back to the blogosphere, then :D.

    "Your post here is quite interesting."

    Thank you *bowing*.

    "Isn't it obvious that the media is the ultimate manipulator of global issues showed on both the print media and the tube?"

    In some cases it is absolutely obvious, in some others it is more subtle.

    "It seems that our fate is in their hands, they can downplay or over do it the other way around. Their influence is very powerful. Maybe I am senselessly talking here but I have some hidden hatred with the media - their consistent biased journalism..."

    Hear, hear!

    "But when they manipulate us, LET US RATHER BE VIGILANT about it!"

    Absolutely, my darling!

    "Thanks for sharing your scholarly ideas! Liked this post Max...:)"

    You are most welcome and I am glad you liked it :D.

    My darling Amity, thank you ever so much for your generosity and input :D.

    Cheers

    ReplyDelete
  14. Ana,

    "Then maybe he should stick to economic interviews only."

    LOL *nodding*...

    "Max, you are too kind...why?"

    I wouldn't describe myself as being kind, but I like to give people the benefit of the doubt...

    "Repetitive and mediocre is an understatement, but it's ok. Yes, I saw President Abbas' speech of continued victimisation and lies. It was obvious that he was trying to please his people"

    Ana...you kill me. I must agree with you on this one though: Pres. Abbas did stick to the Palestinian agenda: victimisation, victimisation and victimisation + playing with the ignorance of the West.

    "Shana Tova!"

    Shana Tova, Ana: I wish you a fantastic 5772!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hi Kalyan :D!

    "Can't agree with you more...we have created this giant monolith in our quest for unsatiating information thirst and as it happens with everyone sooner than the later every media house takes a side and this is where distorted news start flowing in and since very bit of news is like a fire waiting to catch the bad news usually spread faster than even being said and this is where an independent news regulator needs to step in consisting of members from all the political hues as also eminent social individuals, so that before delivering news it is minutely filtered."

    *Bowing*. So you suggest an independent news regulator? Well, Portugal has one and it is hardly independent or effective for the news are still biased *nodding*. Nevertheless, the premise is excellent, indeed...

    Kalyan, outstanding comment for which I thank you immensely :D.

    Cheers

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hi Looney :D,

    I am ever so sorry for this unexcusable mistake: I inserted the wrong reply in this comment section *nodding*.
    It's a good thing that your words stick to my mind, though, otherwise I wouldn't be able to repair this error...

    "I am wondering when the notion of the media as a neutral, scientific observer and unbiased distributer of the facts was first developed. Immediately after the invention of the printing press and for the next few centuries everything was blatantly partisan. Any thoughts on where the unbiased, scientific journalist notion came from?"

    That is a good question; where did it come from? It would make sense to say that it came from the Community of Journalism itself. Where do you think it came from?

    In the beginning of this metier, journalists were able to just transmit the news with some degree of impartiality; but then when society convinced them that they were one of the Powers that rule over us, citizens, they began changing. Then when politicians saw that they were a useful tool to get and retain power...all hell broke loose, I think.

    But to be fair, I must admit that very few journalists today have the ability to be unbiased (when their networks allow them to).

    Looney, thank you so much for your fascinating comment :D.
    Have a great weekend.

    Cheers

    ReplyDelete

Dissecting Society welcomes all sorts of comments, as we are strong advocates of freedom of speech; however, we reserve the right to delete Troll Activity; libellous and offensive comments (e.g. racist and anti-Semitic) plus those with excessive foul language. This blog does not view vulgarity as being protected by the right to free speech. Cheers