POTENTIAL FOR POWER

Hello everyone,

 

Today I wanted to discuss the media. Since as most people know, the media holds quite a bit of power in the world. I’m curious to what extent they abuse this power. I’m also curious what the extent of their power is, so I think I’m going to spend some time expressing how their potential power affects the world.

I use the phrase “potential power” because the reach and influence of the media varies based on too many factors for me to begin to understand how they would possibly make an accurate test about it. Let’s start with the most well known outlet—the television. TV has become something that’s pretty common in every household, even if it is secondhand. People who watch the TV for news are subjected to specific content, but content that is relatively current. This means that they have become aware of the news, just like with any other news source out there. At least, that’s the idea of it. However, many people believe that this news is filtered a lot in order to boost ratings. For example, the political media gave an abnormal portion of screen time to Donald Trump during the primaries because he was so obscene, which boosted ratings.

Of course, this is true of many news sources, however, we should stop to question whether this is right or not. For those of you hard core Bernie Sanders supports, or those of you who simply preferred him to Hilary, it’s important to point out that most people thought that Sanders was effectively given a “media blackout.” In other words, most Sanders supporters believed that he was being shut down by the media. Now, this is pretty hard to say, since I know that I could find videos of Sanders all over the internet, but in regard to television, I am not someone who really peruses the TV for content.

If you exist on Facebook, there is a good chance you had one of those friends that constantly blew up your feed with news about Sanders. Which brings me to the second source of media, the Internet. The Internet is it’s own entity that at this point is probably several times bigger that the TV. Hence why streaming television shows, news reports, and so on have become such an enormous aspect of the television stations. Many people get their news from the internet nowadays—whether it’s watching the Daily Show on Hulu, reading the New York Times articles on their iPhones, or just searching the web for general news. I like to think that the Internet is a little bit more unbiased (weird to say, isn’t it?) because there are probably less filters on what is “news” based solely on opinions. I’d imagine the Internet shows topics based on trending stories, which basically means however popular it is.

However, there is a good chance that I am wrong about this. Facebook is often reported as showing liberal topics in their “trending” section more than conservative topics. Now, it’s quite likely that this is because there are simply more liberals on Facebook than conservatives, but it’s hard to say for certain. What are your ideas? Is it scary to think that our news sources could be filtering what aspects of the news we here? Let me know in the comments!

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2 thoughts on “POTENTIAL FOR POWER

  1. I’ll preface by explaining that I’m an old, retired guy. My wife’s entire career was writing news for TV, and she earned five Emmys doing it. Her take on this issue (and I agree because it’s nice to have an expert right at home) is that beginning in the 1980s, news divisions were expected to generate revenue, to build an audience for ad sales. Prior to that TV news was regarded as a public service, a generator of prestige, not an engine for profit. It changed everything about the content, including forcing journalists to give opinions and take sides, instead of just reporting facts. So, now TV is “narrowcasting”, each channel targeted to specific audiences with political view preferences.

    If TV has gone from broadcast to narrowcasting, the internet is what I would call “niche casting”, serving ever tinier slices of the audience, right down to blogs with a few hundred subscribers. Unlike Public Libraries, there’s no overall fact-checking authority. Absolute, monstrous BS and lies are offered with the same confidence as fully-sourced investigative journalism, and no one is trying to educate the audience to be able to tell the difference between the two. I took Library Science courses, and worked in the entertainment side of TV/film, prior to a final career in medical imaging. I have a broad education that allows me to do my own research, and I can tell “sh*t from shineola” (that’s from 60s commercials), but I don’t see the same developed capabilities in critical thinking in the audience. It’s a dumber country now than the one I grew up in, safer and with better tech, but more of an idiocracy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a really interesting perspective. Thank you for taking the time to express your ideas! I definitely agree that not enough people check their facts, and not having any sort of authority in fact-checking makes it a lot easier for major false claims to be accepted as truth.

      Liked by 1 person

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