A Discussion on the Role of the Mass Media and Media Bias

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Updated: Dec 17, 2022
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A Discussion on the Role of the Mass Media and Media Bias essay

Mass media is an all-pervading element of the modern world. We see it on signs and billboards when we walk down the street. It is there when we flip through magazines, or browse a newspaper. It is the Internet world to which we devote so much of our time. It is carried by radio waves, and it is both movies and TV shows. Mass media is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as being a “medium of communication (as newspapers, radio, or television) that is designed to reach the mass of the people.” As communication technologies have evolved exponentially over the last few centuries, how have these broad-reaching forms of diffusing information been used?

Perhaps one of the most obvious, and yet insidious uses of mass media is to make money. This manifests itself in an obvious way: advertising. The health and beauty industry is an enormous facet of the American economy, one that relies heavily on marketing to influence people’s opinions and views not only on products, but on themselves. Images of ideal males and females are portrayed to the masses, showing advertisements of beautiful, smiling people living exciting and colorful lives. This gives consumers a false sense of lacking, and resultantly, need. This sense often drives people to believe that by attaining these unnatural standards (and emptying their wallets in the process), they too can experience the beauty, health, bounty, and existential satisfaction portrayed in advertisements. This fosters a mentality that allows clothing and perfume designers, as well as pharmaceutical companies, to sell goods at higher prices, and in greater volume.

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In addition to influencing the way people spend their money, media bias can also be used to influence how votes are cast. Voters largely rely on news media to provide information on topics of political contention. Many news sources have a side of politics (ie. conservative or liberal) that determines the perspective they offer on events. This causes them to portray certain stories differently than another news source with a different political bias. Therefore, if a person is not aware of these biases, and actively filtering them out of the information they are receiving, they are susceptible to warped perceptions of the truth, which in turn influences their ballot.

Another way that media has been used to shape the perspective of the masses was through the development and use of the concept of Manifest Destiny. This was a term coined by journalist John L. O’Sullivan in an article written about America’s right to the land of Oregon, which was then British territory. The phrase came to encompass the belief that it was not only the duty, but the destiny of the United States to stretch from the shores of Atlantic Ocean to the shores of the Pacific. This phrase became one of the earliest of buzzwords, and was used to provoke people’s belief in the righteousness of their country, and its westward expansion.

Media permeates almost every aspect of our modern lives. This gives the people and corporations that control the media an enormous level of power and potential for influencing the masses. In order to make truly informed decisions in this epoch of widespread information and instantaneous communication, it is paramount to be aware of the sources of one’s information, and the potential shifted perspectives and biases that may have influenced it. Only through this level of critical analysis can one live truly autonomously, under their own rule, and not that of the media.  and not that of the media.

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A Discussion on the Role of the Mass Media and Media Bias. (2022, Dec 17). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/a-discussion-on-the-role-of-the-mass-media-and-media-bias/