Media, as defined by dictionary.com, is the means of communication through radio, television, newspapers, and magazines that reach or influence people widely. From the definition solely we can access that media has the power to influence, inform, and to also cause change throughout the masses. Over time, media has transformed from something that was purely informational into what some may now consider a weapon. Media now has the power to either better or aggravate any publicized situation, such as in recent ones surrounding racial tension and social inequality. Just as we have a choice in what outlets we choose for our information and pleasure, media has a choice in what they broadcast and expose. We monitor these sources daily to stay up to date with whatever interests us, these range from the news, to sports, music, scandals, to the all-powerful social media; for example my group inadvertently ended up following a story behind Tom Brady’s then pending court case. Concurrently, media monitors us, as viewers, buyers, and also as fans. They take our participation in the company, analyze it, make predictions from it, and ultimately make money off of our participation and interest. Another way money is made is from advertisements. You know, the ones we can’t avoid? Which seem to pop-up at the most inconvenient times possible, these same ads usually are from the company’s, or sites, sponsor or vise-versa. Basically anything electronic, social, or informational is all tied in with media as a whole, and media in its entirety can produce good and bad things. Surprisingly to myself, in the world of media, a lot of things are overlooked. It wasn’t an ignorance to how brutal reporters, authors, artist, etc. can be to people, but more so the near abuse of the freedom of speech.
With that being said, it is also true that not all media is bad. Thankfully, we do have media to keep us in the loop to let us know what is going on in our own chaotic worlds, and to also brief us on the countries and places surrounding us. In some instances media glorifies the hero and reveals to us hope and what we should aspire to be. It can help translate someone’s life into a paper or a film in order to inspire or inform. Media can excite us, leading up to big events, games, or releases; especially from an outlet such as my groups, ESPN. ESPN (Entertainment and Sports Programming Network) is co-owned by Disney and the Hearst Corporation, it has been running since 1979, and is fully surrounded by sports. This particular source is one that doesn’t shy away from controversial topics. Therefore, ESPN is one of the best examples of the reality of how media functions. Last year ESPN alone struck the sports world tremendously with coverage over NFL issues surrounding Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson. These stories were followed for months, resulting in suspensions and court cases facing both. In these cases the NFL commissioner moved to ‘make an example’ out of these two athletes. Both men just so happened to be African American, involved in a domestic violence case, and also two top running backs. What shocked me then about the coverage of these is how open conversations and reports were. It seemed as if nothing was off limits, no matter how personal, tension filled, or controversial things got. A recent article is a perfect example for this. http://espn.go.com/boston/nfl/story/_/id/13570716/tom-brady-new-england-patriots-wins-appeal-nfl-deflategate This article listed speaks on how the NFL’s commissioner just can’t seem to win these big cases against players. It also speaks on how these loses are detrimental to his figure and reputability; concurrently it, in a way, introduces the idea that his intentions weren’t purely professional, that maybe it was more about defining his authority than enforcing the rules. The fact that ESPN even releases articles such as these, ones that challenge powerful heads in current sports, reveals supports how fearless and honest they can be. Not only is it this site, but many more media outlets, including tabloids, newspapers, negative competitive campaign ads, and more.
One thing I’m sure that all of the groups learned is that we should actually check things out before we assume that a certain source is something that it very well may not be. Going in I assumed ESPN would be more biased due to favoritism of sports teams, ranges of personal experience, and the possibility of numbers vs. a gut feeling; but now I wouldn’t say that ESPN is biased at all. In fact, it is very argumentative and opinionated on both sides of the ball. Even these ‘opinions’ are derived from facts, numbers, and statistics. This freedom is incorporated with usually every section of a sources media, not neglecting websites, apps, shows etc. Even the hosts of the shows genuinely speak their minds rather than sugar coating things or attempting to always stick with a script.
As we monitor media for changes in the stories that we follow, more stories come up, keeping us interested and involved. What I also realized is that this may not be by coincidence. Screen structures are scientifically created to distract us and to manipulate us into doing certain things, and this idea is one that doesn’t sit well with me. We’d like to believe that we research and tune in to media to educate ourselves of worldly and local matters in order to stay on top of things and to be just as smart as our sources; when in actuality, some purposely attempt to control us. Sites such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc. are infested with ads and videos earning your attention and trying to persuade you to tune in, to buy, or to watch something. They monitor your internet history in order to choose what sites and items they should attempt to coax you into clicking. Every network you are on is monitored and usually archived, they tell you who you should follow based on who you already follow. They monitor your likes, whose page you visit, your contacts, and any information you possibly release, after they assess all of these things what else is there to really know about you? They know your DOB, your favorite things, your location, your friends, parents, family, big events, when, where, and how it happened; everything. Most of these things listed come from our self-created social media accounts, which we use to interact with others, to stay in contact with family, and to share our lives digitally with our friends. We theoretically post things carefully to our pages and monitor who likes, comments, who shares, and how well of a response the post received. Though these social media outlets can be great amongst friends, family, and fans; it has caused tremendous problems within our nation. Amongst these problems is the idea that social media has made us in fact less social. People now lack the skill to physically interact with others and actually express emotion and feeling rather than digitally translating moments and moods. The workings of these outlets have some people now feeling as if they are defined by the popularity of their personal pages, rather than their actual beings and actions. Some are now seeing likes, and catch phrased praise days, such as #WCW (woman crush Wednesday), as some of the highest praise that can be generated, and without the confirmation of one directed towards them, they seem worthless.
Yes media is an amazing tool in these 21st century world and society, and yes it assists us tremendously in life. But what about all that is wrong with it? It amazes me how brutal and honest a post can be towards a person or a topic, so cruel that it not only ruins a reputation but it can hurt pride. The fact that these criticisms can happen with almost no behavioral consequences or reaction from authority is what bothers me most. Literally anything non-threatening can be said about anything and nothing can be done because once it is said, it’s said. Media has been apart in carrying the world into its current and constant prosperity, but it has also ruined and changed the obtaining of self-consciousness. Yes, we can capture, record, and relive momentous occasions, but concurrently nothing can happen in private anymore. With these thoughts in mind we can see media almost as an empire in many ways, and if you aren’t in and monitoring then you watch from the sidelines through websites, newspapers, and things like blogs while you are just another person being monitored and ultimately, overlooked. Which raises the question, what is really monitored in media?