This I Believe is an international organization engaging people in writing and sharing essays describing the core values that guide their daily lives. Over 125,000 of these essays, written by people from all walks of life, have been archived here on our website, heard on public radio, chronicled through our books, and featured in weekly podcasts. The project is based on the popular 1950s radio series of the same name hosted by Edward R. Murrow.
The western movies were able to attract many people and led them to perceive Americans as the all-powerful and superior people in the world. The 'white man' never lost in the western movies and television shows and this strengthened the notions that the Americans were invincible and unbeatable. This allowed the US government to instill these feelings of power into the hearts and minds of the people and they were able to convince them that the United States was a superpower and an unbeatable force. This is another form of how media can act as a social control.
The News and Public Opinion
Difficult to gauge media's effect on public opinion -- hard to separate the media from other influences
TV/News can alter the priorities that Americans attach to a particular set of problems
Agenda setting effects of the media reflects a deliberate and thoughtful process on the part of sophisticated citizens who rely on what they consider to be a credible source of info
Media influences criteria by which the public evaluates its leaders
Reporting the News
Finding the News
Comes from well-established sources
Beats -- specific locations where news frequently comes from
Trial balloons - information leaked to see what the political reaction will be
Very little is spontaneous or a reporter's own analysis
Examples of -- "crusading truth-seekers"
Berstein and Woodward
Watergate signaled a new era in the relationship between politicians and reporters
Reporters: politicians have something to hid
Politicians: reporters are out to get us
Presenting the News
TV News = headline service; analysis rarely lasts for more than a minute
Technology has allowed for news at greater speed but it has become less thorough
For some time, politicians had a hard time getting their message across through the media
Role of 9/11
Bias in the News
Many people believe news is biased -- Republicans have claimed for years that media is biased against them
1980s study -- media twice as likely to label themselves as liberal
Most studies have shown that media is not biased towards a party or ideology
Why reporters stay unbiased:
Belief in journalistic objectivity
Media outlets have a direct financial stake in attracting viewers -- don't want to turn anyone off to their network
More liberal on social issues
Ideally -- media should mirror reality
Journalists must choose what to cover and what to ignore -- bias towards what will draw the largest audience
Media biased towards positive images
Talking heads are boring -- shot of a person talking directly to camera
public is exposed to a world driven into chaos by seemingly arbitrary and mysterious forces
"Do we really think that if the media elites worked out of Nebraska instead of New York ...
Understanding the Mass Media
"No major act of the American Congress, no foreign adventure, no act of diplomacy, no great social reform can succeed unless the press prepares the public mind."
Media and the Scope of Government
Media's watchdog functions helps to restrict politicians
Watchdog function -- neither liberal nor conservative; reformist
Focus on reform inevitably encourages enlarging the scope of government
Once media IDs an issue, asks what the government is doing about it
Individualism in the Media
Rise of TV broadcasting has reinforced and furthered individualism in the American political process
Less need for political parties and social groups to make their decisions -- able to see candidates up close and personal
Parties have declined and candidate personality is more important than ever
60% of media coverage -- devoted to president
31% to Congress
Supreme Court -- no cameras allowed
Information is the fuel of democracy.
If you are alive today, chances are that you have grown up with memories of watching television while eating your cereal in the morning, going to school or work reading a newspaper, and traveling long distances in the car listening to the radio. Since the media and its artifacts play such a large role in our lives, it is very important to understand and realize that not everything that appears in the media is true and not everything should be taken at its face value. We should be careful and should try to better understand, interpret, and criticize the meanings and messages that are conveyed through media. Perhaps the most important misconception that one can derive from the media is that of the other cultures, and thus makes us form some misinterpreted and false assumptions about people who are from a different culture. It is by observing the media that we learn how to behave, and how to think, what to feel, believe and fear of people from other cultures. We act like men, or women, because of what media teaches us are the right or the wrong way to act. We dress, look and consume out of media, learn how to be popular and successful and how to avoid failure; and most importantly, we learn how to react to members of different social groups by learning from the media and its artifacts. Thus it becomes very important how a certain group of people is portrayed by the media. Consequently it also becomes very important to understand and gain a 'media literacy' that can teach us to cope with the current cultural environment. We should also be aware of how different media production techniques help shape the representation of a minority group and their portrayal in our normal everyday way of thinking.
These days, another position has been added to this, sexual orientation, and it is all factors, and perhaps many more, that have been used for the production of various media artifacts and also for shaping the people's opinions and views. According to Kellner, “these interact in shaping how audiences receive and use texts and must be taken into account in studying cultural reception, for audiences decode and use texts according to the specific constituents of their class, race or ethnicity, gender, sexual preferences and so on.” For the past fifty years or so, media images have helped us shape the view of our world and have fine tuned our values to the extent that we base the concepts of good and evil, of the positive and the negative, on images and reports that we incur from the media. In the recent past, we have seen that media provides us with, and that we except, stories, symbols, myths, and resources on which we base our concepts of culture and its components. The media makes us decide who is power and who is powerless, who is a terrorist and who a freedom fighter. Media works to shape our views and to shape our notions about the rest of the world.
Another contention that media can act as a social control is that the various images, especially violence, can have adverse effects on those who watch such images regularly. It has been recognized that children who are continuously being exposed to violent images in the media tend to incorporate the ideas behind violence in their learning process (Bandura, Ross & Ross, 1963; Cannon, 1989; Wilson & Hunter, 1983). The phenomenon of violence is also very complex and there are many factors that can or cannot induce violent behavior in a human being. Many people have suggested that the individuals' personalities, their family backgrounds, their cultural, educational, and religious implications, all contribute to acts of violence. It is believed that children learn from things that happen around them and also by observing people who are important to them, e.g. parents, teachers, priests etc. This is because children start to develop a sense of themselves and others and a sense of right and wrong very early (Piaget, 1932; Sullivan, 1953; Winnicott, 1965).
Reported essay questions are from students who have taken their IELTS test. These questions may vary slightly in wording from the original question.
It is widely believed that the U.S. Army used such and more cartoons as tools for propaganda ever since. When there was a boom in the electronic industry in the early twentieth century and equipment such as radio and television were invented, the governments and others saw this as a great opportunity to spread their word along to the masses in a way that was easy and also had a very large scope in terms of its reach; tens of people can watch one television at the same time and information can be parleyed over large distances without having to physically get up and go there. The end of the First World War saw a great refinement to such tools as radio and television and many producers - such as Leni Riefenstahl and his pro-Nazi production Triumph of the Will - had started to use this media as a propagating tool by the beginning to the Second World War. The United States also made many films including Why We Fight and of course, Private Snafu. Snafu was well liked and immediately accepted by the people and “Warner Bros. cartoon studio produced twenty-six 'Private Snafu' cartoons for the U.S. Army Signal Corps between 1943 and 1945. The cartoons were made in such a way that they represented the global presence of the United States and their army as Snafu would be shown to be in many places such as various parts of Europe, in the South Pacific, Africa and in the United States itself. This was done to personify the power of the United States over the others as Snafu was used to depict the commonality within the U.S. Army (Dow). This was not the end of the US government's way of projecting their presence and their victory in wars by using the media for their purposes. Ever since, hundreds of movies and television programs have been aired in order to signify their victory in the places where they have gone at war.
Thus, we know that various media and its artifacts can have a lot of effects on us, our lives, and our society. We must understand that a lot of what we see on television, hear on the radio, or see in the print (e.g. advertisements) are there in order for us to change our minds about certain views or opinions. What is this but social control? In the current era of globalization, we must all be aware of the different factor that go into the production of media artifacts and their implications on the different cultures and sections of the society. The media culture of today does tend to support many capitalists value and tends to undermine the minority interests and shows a strong effort that exists between different races, classes, gender, and social groups. So, to fully understand and comprehend the nature and effects of the production techniques of the media artifacts and its effects on the certain group of people, one must look deeper into the lines and understand the media culture as to its working, and how it works to change our attitudes, preferences, and views, leading to a social control at the hand of the media.