The media is a huge form of communication and source of information in the United States; on one side of the dispute are the beliefs that the media is too opinionated. On the other side are the beliefs that the media is just a simple informer that just reports the facts. The main issue for both of these beliefs is: does the media affect opinions on the issues from opinionated reports, or does it just report the facts that public may already know? If one could answer this question then they would know if the media was responsible or not for writing history. The media is a form of communication used to reach the general public to form audiences for information, artistic expression, and other kinds of messages (Marc, David, “Mass Media.” Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia.
Scholastic Library Publishing, 2005).
Media is known for being able to reach large segments of the public due to its great value in commerce, politics, and culture. Corporations like in the U. S. or national governments like in China, usually control the media.
These corporations or national governments employ people who are professional and can produce, promote, and deliver these media products to meet the goal of attracting large audiences. Media products can be produced and promoted in different ways using different objects. There are products such as books, videos, DVD’s, newspapers, and magazines. The ways media can be delivered to audiences are through t. v. channels, pay-per-view, movies, and radio broadcasting.
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Most media depends on profit to be produced and a lot of the profit comes from the selling of items like books, and the selling of advertisements like in newspapers or television. Some Historians say that forms of media first occurred during the medieval period in Europe rather than it forming in the industrial- era. It supposedly began in the architecture found in European Cathedrals which functioned like a mass medium of religious communication through biblical stories, religious information, paintings, sculptures, and other forms of art to a large illiterate population. The eighteenth century is often considered to be the beginning of media due to the first commercial printing industry in London. It was then, the eighteenth century, when publishing began and hand operated printing presses were used to produce products such as novels and magazines that were able to sell cheaply thanks to a fast growing audience.
The production of media continued on from the eighteenth century through the nineteenth century and now producing numerous forms of media that are still used today. (MLA) Confidence in the media especially the news media has been sinking. Recent polls held by the Pole Research Center shows that eight months after the 9/11 event public confidence plummeted below normal rating levels. The public is irritated by the media’s unwillingness to admit its mistakes. And, nearly sixty percent of those polled think that the media is biased. It is also known that a few months after the 9/11 event media is back to its old habits such as analysis, opinion and speculation, and that are largely based on anonymous sources.
Of course the public prefers information that is not interpreted or hyped. For example the media’s favorable treatment of Bill Clinton and his efforts to re-write the history of his administration has pushed confidence levels to a low. By allowing and promoting Bill Clinton and his effort gives the media a hyped since of favoritism that is obvious to the public view. The public’s confidence levels have gone so low that the public believes almost nothing Bill Clinton has to say which disrupts the media and its credibility. The military often manipulates mainstream media because it recognizes the values of media and information control very well. It is known that the military manages and restricts what information is presented and what the public is told.
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The military manipulates media by using techniques such as paying journalists to promote certain issues. Governments and officials contract PR firms to sell a war, and PR forms feeding stories to the press. When those techniques are used, wrong information or partial info is reported as news or facts without giving reliable sources. “One difficulty is that the media have little or no memory. War correspondents have short working lives and there is no tradition or mean of passing on their knowledge and experience. The military, on the other hand, is an institution and goes on forever.
The military learned a lot from Vietnam and these days plans its media strategy with as much attention as its military strategy” (Knightley, Fighting Dirty).
The military does not reveal the nature of the information, in order for them to create a public opinion. Is the media power political power? There is less diversity in concentrated media ownership. The nation is affected by the means of political discourse that shapes it.
In the following, Ben H. Bagdikian summarizes that politicians can often be hesitant about criticizing the media too much: “Media power is political power. The politicians hesitate to offend the handful of media operators who control how those politicians will be presented- or not presented- to the voters. Media political power has always been a fixture in American history. But today the combination of the media industry and traditional corporate power has reached dimensions former generations could not match…
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Today… political among the mainstream media has disappeared. As the country enters the twenty-first, the news and analysis of progressive ideas and groups are close to absent in the major media. Similarly absent is commentary on dangers of this political one-sideness to American democracy” (Ben H.
Bagdikian, The Media Monopoly, Sixth Edition, (Beacon Press, 2000), PP. xv-xvi).
Other media commentators such as Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman in their book, Manufacturing Consent, Pantheon Books, New York, 1988 show occasions where the U. S. main stream media has been extremely careful, critical, and appropriate in their look at media policies in other nations in geopolitical issues.
When it comes to reporting on actions of their own nations in geopolitical issues, the reporting often fits the propaganda model. This propaganda model is not exactly explicit. It is sometimes very subtle, but comes through various pulls and pushes of different political, economic, and social aspects that affect decisions on what and how to report. The media can be a very reliable source of information. Information on politicians and the military are still valued by the public. However there is a lack of journalist integrity, which makes it difficult to detect what journalist is legitimate.
A journalist’s, integrity can be found through their values such as incorruptibility, soundness, and competence. Should people themselves be held responsible and accountable for the actions of the media because of their possible failure to investigate the reliability of the information, and their willingness to read and point the finger. A journalist without credibility is just another person who gossips so should they be considered real media. And, should anyone who chooses to listen to them be also accounted as guilty? The mainstream media has seen transformations due to the pressure to make profits which require more and more avoidance of controversial and sensitive issues. These issues can criticize aspects of corporate America or reduce the buying moods of readers. “A principal familiar to a propagandist is that the doctrine to be instilled in the target audience should not be articulated: that would only expose them to reflection, inquiry, and, very likely, ridicule.
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The proper procedure is to drill them home by constantly presupposing them, so that they become the very condition for discourse” (Noam Chomsky- Quoted by Scott Burchell, The Limits of Thinkable Thought, February 4, 2000).
This means that the media is where support and if needed, manipulation, can be found. And as overtime people get accustomed to these lower forms of media, that propaganda becomes easier to disseminate. With all the progressions, changes, and transformations the media has been through, the role of media has also changed as well. So should they be accused of wrongness if they are only playing their role for which the society accepts them. “George Selves, a reporter for over seventy years, points out that there are three sacred cows still with us today: religion, patriotism, and the media itself…
Patriotism, defined as taking pride in ones country, allies the masses with ruling powers. The media refuses to discuss its consistent failure to inform the masses of its ongoing control. It has been in place for so long that few are aware of how it came about or that it is even still there. But many people are intelligent, moral, and idealistic; if the media would the true history of these three sacred cows, that control would quickly disappear” (J. W. Smith, The Worlds Wasted Wealth 2, (Institute for Economic Democracy, 1994), p.
The media obtains support and conformity through many ways. After all the media is just another business trying to make a profit so should its buyers be guilty of its continues to commit such accused wrongness. The media and its reporting of facts being biased or not is a large topic and is continually debated among those who believe the media should not contain its opinions and others who believe that it is the media’s duty to not only report the facts but to explain and interpret them. People should consider the fact that they choose what they want to read, listen to, and believe so does that make the informer wrong even if the information is not totally accurate or correct?.