Effects Of The Media On Society
The media uses its influence over us to effect change in society by shaping our opinions, but someone has to inform the public and make sure that everyone is kept abreast of the latest developments. How media effects you.
Civil unrest is growing madly out of proportion and getting worse with each year. War might break out in the Persian Gulf for the second time at any moment. Excluding the 1960's, race tensions are at an all-time high. The government is under constant scrutiny from everyone, and drugs have taken control of the children. Sounds like we might have a small problem. Someone has to inform the public and make sure that everyone is kept abreast of the latest developments. Someone better call the press! After all, what other medium do we have that can so successfully turn the worlds' most horrible atrocities into dinner time entertainment? It is quite fitting for people to be fed their views and beliefs along with their supper don't you think?
This ability to spoon-feed the public whatever one may feel is necessary is often exploited. Say for example, someone wanted the President out of office. The media has no problem discrediting him as long as they get the story first. Once public sentiment is in line with the personal goals of whomever, the media has their ratings. Of course, you also happen to have 250 million confused individuals believing what you need, so that they do what you want. For example, it is now considered common knowledge that John F. Kennedy had extra-martial sex while in office. Yet we are brainwashed into considering him one of our most beloved presidents. In fact, he is the benchmark in which all successors have since been contrasted against. Now, if adultery were sufficient grounds to humiliate and expel a President from office, shouldn't we be appalled and disgusted with JFK's legacy, rather than proclaiming schools in his name and resurrecting statues in his honor? Call me crazy, but it seems as though President Clinton has followed in JFK's footsteps more closely than any other president. However, the media tried to convince the people it was ok if it was JFK committing crimes such as adultery, but grounds for impeachment when the culprit is Clinton. This doesn't always work of course, as Clinton's national rating is at its highest ever.
Political groups are not the only people to exploit the public via the media. The judicial system is just as guilty. For years they have used the media to craft public opinion about would be criminals. Need to turn a mass murderer into a sympathetic fool that is worthy of our mercy? No problem! Does anyone remember the Menendez brothers by any chance? Or maybe turn a confused teenager who aborted her pregnancy out of sheer horror into a cold ruthless killer? They can do that too! Just ask lucky Melissa Drexler or the prosperous Amy Grossberg. I'm sure they have some insight into that dilemma. Any way you need to swing the public, there will be an engrossing movie of the week to force feed your view to the world.
The news is not the only branch of the media using underhanded tactics to control the public. For example, once the news has convinced the public that watching violence and other forms of negativity is a normal part of every day viewing, they in fact manipulate the public to develop a craving for this type of entertainment. It is easy to give the public more of what they want, or what the media want them to have, that is. With the success of such shows as COPS and its spawn of multiple clone series, people feast on watching their fellow man act like an animal. The Persian Gulf War reportedly beat out Seinfeld and other top shows of the time. Now if this were because an informed public was watching to keep up to date, this would be commendable. When they are viewing in because observing dead Iraqis is the most entertaining thing on TV, that is a significant problem. It might be boring news, but hey, turn it into a soap opera and you suddenly get a 30-point share! Whether it be the police, a war, or a fictional story portraying the violence that takes place in these type of situations, people have come to nourish on this type of amusement like it was their life blood. Critics use the first amendment right as an excuse. Yet, they neglect to mention that it is not the will of the people asking to watch these shows. Rather, it is the will of the networks telling the people they should watch it. They then give those people the first amendment to fight for the networks' own gains unknowingly. And what of the children who are watching? Do you actually think as soon as the "MA 14" warning pops up on the screen they will run to the remote and flip the channel over to 'Barney And Friends'?
Speaking of Barney, at the same time the media is busy teaching children that watching this aberration of entertainment is fun, they are setting them up to become great consumers once they are of age. In the meantime, they can hand over their parents' money. These shows like Barney and most cartoons are nothing more than marketing ploys to sell toys to the children. Whether or not the show has educational value is not of a primary issue to the networks. It is more of a question of how valuable the merchandising license is. The children may be too young to start spending their own money, but their parents are not. Once the child is hooked, he is hooked for life.
From Barney to GI Joe to NY PD Blue, we prepare a ladder of ignorance for our future generations to climb, so that when they reach the top they are de-sensitized to even the most horrific of possibilities. The answer is not to censor content. This only provokes the networks and proponents and sets the stage for censorship. Rather than eliminating the corrupt material, eliminate the want for such material and the material itself will go away on its own. This whole craze is fixed on a perpetual cycle of the media influencing the people, which in turn influence the media more. Whether or not it is the media that started this never-ending circle of events, it is up to us to end it. The networks have no want or need to, as long as this whole system benefits them. The media will not spend money producing garbage no one wants or is willing to pay for. For once use the media's bottom line mentality to our advantage, not to their own.