The Manipulating Power of the Media

Today’s lecture was an interesting look into the power of the media and its manipulation of the consumer. Its sometimes scary to think about the power that the media has over us, even when we don’t know it. In some cases it can a small group of people (maybe even one person) who is controlling the vast majority of the worlds media, they could make the world believe a lie or forget an important truth. If  for example you were to look at the News Corporation company owned by Rupert Murdoch and its list of assets here you can see that they own various newspapers and TV networks in enough countries to control the popular opinion of the world. These days everyone believes what they read in the papers as long as enough facts and figures are put in the right places, potentially if News Corporation wanted to make up a story, they own enough of the media that it wouldn’t be questioned, if other newspapers tried to go against the story News Corporation have the controlling market to overpower them. Obviously this is a hypothetical situation and hopefully would never happen but nevertheless the potential is still there and this is wrong.

With organisations having this much power over the public, consideration should be taken into what effect this is having over consumers. Many people believe that what we see on TV and in films can directly affect our behaviour in real life, the biggest concern being the young. There have been many psychological studies into this issue, especially with the case of Jamie Bulger’s murder. It is claimed that the reason the two boys committed the murder was because they were copying a film they had seen earlier, if this is true then it would be compelling evidence that the glorifying of violence in the media directly affects peoples actions. Personally I believe that a sane sound minded human knows the difference between a film and real life, there are many factors that could change this including age and upbringing.

There are many theories into the affect of the media on its consumers, some that say they wish to imitate what they see and some that say that it actually vents frustration and anger so that they are less likely to be violent in real life. If you look at any newspaper over the last few years you will find a story that has a letter from an angry mother complaining that the latest video game glorifies violence and war and in turn making their child violent. Grand Theft Auto has been of particular interest to such moaning mothers as the game allows you to (this is my favourite ridiculous quote from the news about this game) “buy a hooker sleep with her and then kill her”, and I cant deny, if you really want to do this then you can. But the moment you do it you don’t have this sudden urge to jump into a car that’s not yours, cruise around town looking for a hooker that you can pick up have your way with them and then murder them on the street with a pair of Uzi’s. This is an extreme example but you get the idea, you’d have to be clinically insane to copy what you see in films and games or we’d have people everywhere setting up Saw style games and shooting up entire towns.

As consumers we need to start questioning the media we consume, if we accept everything that is told to us by our televisions and newspapers then we will loose all sense of independence and the ability to question those in positions of power. When we loose our independent thought and ability to question we only send our selves deeper into a 1984 style, totalitarian future, which no one wants. Unfortunately media producers, especially advertisers have realised something about the majority of the media consuming public, there stupid, they will buy things they don’t want for needs they don’ t have, they will watch crap about celebrities lives because they crave to be like them. I realise I’m starting to sound like Tyler Durden from fight club now but its just scary to think about what might become.

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