Like all tools used by man, media can either serve the good of society or for evil purposes. Free and independent media makes the society to think and reflect on issues affecting it. Therefore, each person is empowered to reflect on issues openly. In this perspective, the media is promoting peace and understanding within the society (Carruthers, 1999). However, in many cases the media has been used for negative purposes. It is known that the media at times manipulates the truth. This is achieved by exaggerating or diminishing facts. The media can be manipulated by the politicians of or military officials and be used as a weapon of war. In such cases, money is used to corrupt all stakeholders.
An illustration of how the media can be manipulated is the World War 2. The media could not disclose the truth. An example is the horrifying effects of the concentration camps in Germany. We may question why the media could not reveal what was going on. Media coverage enables the development of public opinion. The media usually have right of entry to the theatre of war. The media also analyzes most crises as they develop. With the on going development in the information technology sector, it is difficult to cover the misdeeds of a Government. However, the same technology can be used to manipulate facts. One is therefore left in a dilemma when trying to differentiate the facts from assumptions or rumors. Someone may wonder how he can obtain reliable information especially when presented with lots of news.
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Media’s Relationship to Culture and Society
Culture is the integrated model of human knowledge, his belief and behavior. It includes languages, beliefs of people and their customs. The role of media in society is to reflect social reality in a general sense. However, the elite who control the media at times filter out reality and only present to the public predetermined opinions. If we are to analyze the situation, we must first define reality. For instance, consider political reality. Can media provide a faked view of it? The answer is no, if we take into account politics today. The politicians who have the responsibility of representing the people fake things. Therefore, the media will only provide the public with what is false. If we view it from this perspective, we realize that the media is not involved in the manipulation of democracy; it is democracy itself is manipulated.
In addition, while reporting conflicts involving the elites or causes of crises the media may give an unclear picture. This is because the media in such cases presents what the elites controlling them wishing to convey. An illustration is the Anglo-American media in presenting the Iraq in 1998. In this case, the media distorted the meaning of criminal bombardment. This illustration shows that the media only offers the truth with respect to the opinion of the elites that control them (Carruthers, 1999). This takes place particularly when the media is presenting facts on political reality. Concentration of the owners of media is thus significant as we struggle for social change. Do 100 or 1000 people own the media? This calls for decentralization of power in the media industry. However, it does not mean that if there is decentralization of power then there will be social change resulting to authentic democracy. Anyway, an effort should be put to decentralize power in media industry in an attempt to raise consciousness.
With reference to economic reality, the media can still be accused of presenting faked pictures of economic reality. In an attempt to provide the economic reality on the ground, they take for granted systems that govern the market economy. The partial images that they present of what matters are concerned with adequate provision of basic needs to the population. This involves prices of commodities, interest rates and stock markets. It is clear that the media fails to see the real economic problems such as unemployment and poverty. Through this perspective, we can argue that they present the public with a faked image. Though their owners do not impose this on them, still they mirror the views of groups that express the main social paradigm. They express the views of businessperson’s, economists and bankers.
The public should remain knowledgeable especially about political affairs
This enables participation in democratic processes. The media provides the connection to the political issues. It is therefore logical to first assess the integrity of media before analyzing democratic processes (Thussu & Freedman, 2003). We know that we are at the mercy of the media, which includes the internet, TV, radio, Print and many others interpretation of politics. For instance inadequate coverage of politics results in lack of knowledge in the public. The media may not be intentionally planning to restrict the public’s involvement in role of government, however, since there are factors that supersede their interest in political coverage like profit making.
The media also fails in presentation since most of its coverage is normally directed towards negative aspects of the government (Thussu & Freedman, 2003). Research shows that over 70% of the news presented about the government is negative. This makes voters to be unsatisfied with the candidates they choose. Normative Journalism dictates that information about the current issues should be directed towards assisting the greatest number of the public to understand. This calls for objective interpretation of all events covered by the media. With respect to this reasoning, the media acts as he ‘watch dog’. It should analyze political figures and provide the public with the findings without being bias. This is the only way of ensuring that the public forms its own opinion regarding politicians.
The influence of media on children, teenagers and society in general is profound
At times, it is so skillful and silent that we fail to realize its effect on our beliefs, habits, thought process and moods. On daily basis, we receive information through the media. The media informs us of the appropriate clothes to put on, tells us what is valuable and what is not and defines beauty and so on. The internet and particularly Facebook can be used for analysis of how the media affects the society. A brief overview of Facebook shows that, facebook is a social network service own by facebook Inc. and has approximately 600 million users. Users create personal profiles, which enables them to exchange massages with friends and family members.
A research done by competes. Com showed that facebook is the most used social networking service throughout the world (Goldsmith & Wu 2006). The site has affected social life of many people in many ways. The way it affects lives range from reuniting lost friends and family members to being a source of problems in relationships. In families, recent studies show that using facebook is one of the leading causes of divorce and infidelity.
Facebook influence the society through the amount of information conveyed through it. For example, facebook invoked the political revolution in Egypt. It caused great masses of Egyptians to protest outside government offices. This is an application of hypodermic theory, imaginary thoughts and a way of thinking was injected in the minds of the citizens of this nation. This culminated in the ousting of the incumbent president. We can therefore conclude that the media can easily manipulate the public opinion.