|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:
- The transmission of information as it is received, devoid of comment and immune to some amount of bias.
- 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).
- 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?