Free Essay

Mass Communication

In: Social Issues

Submitted By HGilliland3
Words 1917
Pages 8
Mass media messages and effects
Heather Gilliland
BSCOM/268
06-06-16
Mabelle Reynoso

Mass media messages and effects
Introduction

The mass media is in the business of steering your thoughts about subjects and controlling how the public thinks. The press, the television, and the radio play an important role in society. The mass media informs, educates, and entertains the public. They also influence how society looks at the world and can often alter that view. Mass media shapes public opinion on many different matters. When you want to see the most current events, read about the news or listen to get the latest gossip on celebrities, or learn the latest fashion trends, members of society usually turn on the television, the radio, or access the internet through your computer or smartphone. Mass media has developed a technology to reach the vast majority of the population. The mass media is constantly changing and growing as new technological advances are being made. The public is exposed to vast amounts of content in the stories they read and the news they listen to, and even though we depend on mass media for almost everything we listen to, all the stories may not be very ethical. There are many undependable sources of mass media out there, but there are also true, dependable and reliable sources that we are exposed to as well. As the public depends on the media to such a great degree, it is important to know which sources to trust, and which to disregard as unreliable. The public is constantly asking for more ways to get their news, and mass media is making sure to keep up with public demand.

Mass media is everywhere and has a strong presence in our everyday life. When the mass media distributes a message, the public is sure to listen. When mass media delivers a positive message, it can be a source of inspiration, and if used wisely, the mass media can be a positive vehicle in which we learn vital information. The messages sent out by mass media gives us a platform to voice our own personal opinions about things such as politics, social issues, and world affairs. Mass media can increase and expand our general awareness about issues around us.
With new technology, we have faster access to all types of information and therefore acts as a springboard for all types of things. It can connect skilled people with those who are in search of them, open doors those seeking to gain knowledge about a certain topic, and can even change the beliefs of those who cast others in a negative light. For example, you might have misgivings of your foreign neighbor, but the mass media is constantly striving to change the outlook that society has on Middle Easterners. The media can influence positive changes in our way of thinking. “It is clear that the media influences daily living. Its contents contribute to change in the values of society.” ("Positive Effects of the Media", 2016). Mass media can be positive and enlightening.
. The media has a large impact on society and the public’s opinion when it comes to global issues that impact us to the degree that world hunger does. Global world hunger is at the top of the world’s most threatening problems. Millions are afflicted, and through the media, the public can learn about world hunger, where it is most prevalent in the world, which countries are most highly affected, and ways that you and I can help to prevent or help ease it. Mass media can bring about positive changes in our belief system.
Mass media also comes with a long list of downfalls. The views expressed by the media are often times limited to a singular angel or viewpoint. There is also a lot of violence being exposed by mass media, inviting copycat crimes. Teens and young children are being overexposed to violence and imitative behavior has become an issue in recent years. There is also a lot of sexual content in the media, and teens may be influenced to have sexual intercourse much earlier than if they had not been exposed to it at such an early age. “The media is the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and the guilty innocent, now that’s power. They can control the mind of the masses.” ("Negative Effects of the Mass Media", 2016). We must also consider that risky behaviors like drinking and smoking seem acceptable.
The media also portrays certain cultures with negative stereotypes. For example, nonwhites are portrayed as thieves, less intelligent, less trustworthy, and all around as subhuman. These negative effects seem to be more widespread in the entertainment industry. This cultural profiling could lead certain members of society, and teenagers and younger children in particular, to become prejudice of other races, or even prejudice against other genders.
Why does the media promote violence, racism, and sex? Stereotyping is one of the biggest factors in which the media perpetuates racism. They tend to highlight only specific elements in a story to give it a racially derogatory spin. The more controversial the story, the more copies that are sold. “The media has divided the working class and stereotyped young African American males as gangsters and drug dealers.” (Balkaran, 1999). The media does this so often that this has become the normal public perception of them. Journalists simply have no codes or rule in regards to selective reporting. The public responds quickly to racism, and the news sells quickly for such stories.

Clearly, if racism, violence and sexual content were taken out of the equation, media sales would suffer. The absence of racism in the news would mean that interests would wane, or consumers would turn to the media sources that report the most shocking stories. While coverage of racially motivated crime is highly debated, coverage of those crimes is coveted and paid for highly by the public.
The media also creates the ideal image of men and women and it gives children the false knowledge that if you look and act a certain way, society will embrace you and you will be successful. The media also pushes that obesity is unacceptable and that if you are obese, you will not be accepted. With so many teenagers and young adults fighting this disease in America, the media does not help on that front. The media can form and modify public opinion depending on the story it is reporting and, of course, its’ own agenda relating to that particular story.
The government plays a vital role in strengthening the role that the media plays as an influencing agent for public knowledge and agenda setting. The way that we develop, the way we think, and the opinions that we create are based on what we learn from our government and the media. The media delivers what the government is doing, or is neglecting to do when it comes to many issues in today’s society.
The mass media industry is fast paced and rapidly evolving. Deadlines must be met and so must bottom lines. With this in mind, the mass media can very easily lose sight of the ethical implications of their work. “Because network television is an audiovisual medium that is piped into 99% of American homes, it is one of the most important vehicles in depicting cultural images to our populations.” (Burr, 2016).It should be imperative that the mass media and its’ creators try and handle the ethical issues that they consistently portray.
We as Americans are becoming extremely diverse. Yet in network publications and all other types of mass media, minorities are often absent or portrayed in a negative light. Minorities are very rarely depicted in a positive light, or allowed to play a complex character. In addition, a great source of concern is the mass medias’ stereotyping of women, gay individuals, and disabled persons. In America, and by American standards, the white man is the central standard by which all others must be held.
From the beginning of man, we have always developed ways to communicate. From cave paintings to archaic alphabets, humans have always developed ways to get messages to the masses. At one time only the very well-educated and elite had the means to learn to read and write, leaving the rest of the community to rely solely on verbal forms of communication.
With the invention of the printing press in 1455, books and other printed communication could be produced at a much faster speed and no longer had to be scribed by hand. At this point, the common people had access to the same reading material as the wealthier, and more fortunate public. That was just the start of the general public’s fascination with mass media. The newspaper was produced in London almost 200 years later and set mass media in full swing.
After reading material was mass produced, the media developed a more dramatic way to relay information. Film technology was developed in the 1820’s, but it took several more decades before that technology was put into widespread use. Not long after photography was incorporated in digital format, the internet was developed and once again revolutionized the industry. This started many technological changes.
Another role that the mass media plays in today’s society is the ability to act as a public forum. This lets the public voice their opinions on important matters such as world events, politics, and a multitude of other subjects. The development of blogs, discussion boards, and online comments are prevalent in our society. The media allows society to get its voice out there.
The influence of digital media is obvious. Magazines have had to adapt to changing times by covering movies or television shows and by trying to appeal to specialized consumers instead of the general public. There is little doubt that the magazine industry is suffering and having a hard time competing for consumers in today’s digitally enhanced world.
The digital media consist of both internet and mobile mass communication. The public has access to television, radio, internet and email on a daily basis. The organization that controls this technology is, of course, the mass media. The public is embracing technology. “To find something comparable to today’s mass media technology, you have to go back 500 years to the printing press, which is the birth of mass media” ("Digital America", 2012). Technology is shifting power away from the public and placing it in the hands of the mass media.

Conclusion
The term “mass media” encompasses a multitude of cultures, scopes, opinions, and purposes. The influence of the media is obvious and reaches almost every home in America. The influence of the media can change the way that laws are made, change an individual’s view on a subject, make or break fashion trends, and even influence who the public votes in or out of office. Weather the media is broadcasting ethical or unethical stories, the public cannot seem to get enough. The media not only reports the news, but they oftentimes create it.

References

Balkaran, S. (1999). Racial identity and African American Culture. Retrieved from http://www.thehuffingtonpost.com

Burr, S. (2016). Ethical issues in mass media. Retrieved from http://www.flatworldknowledge.com

Digital America. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.tocqueville.richmond.edu

Negative effects of the mass media. (2016). Retrieved from http://www.123helpme.com

Positive effects of the media. (2016). Retrieved from http://www.buzzle.com

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