Keara riley; 9/11/15
Mass media is the act of communicating with an extremely large population. Since so many people rely on public news sources to keep up with current affairs, it doesn’t seem fair that it should be so easy for them to hide and misrepresent stories. Consider that there are many ways of receiving news and there are different companies for each medium. It’s shocking that there is little variation between the different articles. Many news casters have the same information, they just project it with different biases and opinions and spin off stories to convince people that they are the best source to receive news from.
While it’s not true of everyone, many of the younger portion of America’s population will read various stories on Facebook and assume that they are accurate. Maybe it was shared by your parents and you trust what they think, or by an old professor who you’ve always looked up to and you value his opinion. Regardless of why, just because it’s on Facebook doesn’t make it accurate. The media is able to manipulate everyone, not just the naïve and ignorant. One source stated that more than 25 billion things are shared each month. These items can include news stories or video clips, photos from loved ones, or links to other websites that someone thought was worth your time to check out. Often news clips go around on Facebook that have been altered in some way, or were posted by a company page for alternative reasons. Considering the focus of that company, know that they are not sharing a cool video with you because they think it’s cool, but typically because they have something to gain from it. Companies get publicity and exposure when their posts are shared amongst hundreds of thousands of people. Statistics have shown that marketing segments in around 70% of companies have used Facebook to gain new customers and clients. I did not view NBC’s Facebook page, but considering they are one of the 6 companies that still controls social media, I guarantee they have many followers and are active.
Instagram is a very different source of information from Facebook or Twitter because it’s not possible for long news clips to be shared. Videos posted have a maximum time span of 15 seconds, which restricts what can be said. People are also able to share pictures from a twisted angle or not tell the whole truth about what is happening in the image. News companies invest in workers to run the social media pages and make sure they project the best image for the company. NBC had multiple Instagram accounts to reflect different aspects of their company. Their news account that I viewed was @nbcnews and had over 507K followers. Their images contained short and informative captions of what was happening or current updates. This makes it easy for them to keep things very basic and not include specific details which could give better insight on the events. I enjoy having an Instagram and being able to keep up with my friends and what they’re doing. I think Instagram is great for advertising, where everyone knows the companies are not being 100% honest. But I think it’s a bad source to get news from because they make it easy for news companies to hide the facts.
Twitter is also well known for it being easy to not tell the whole truth because like Instagram, there is a cap on how much you can say. People have to keep their tweets short and to the point, which can lead to confusion when it comes to interpreting what is meant, and makes it easy for large companies to leave out the specific facts when generally summarizing an article. Companies will also put more opinion into the post than fact, but because it is a verified account people assume they can trust what is being posted and what they are reading. I have never liked Twitter because I always found it useless and not worth my time. While I still believe this to be true, I could understand why people would go on for updates on current events. The posts have to be short which makes them very to the point and easy to read. I do not think it is a reliable source for news though because everyone on Twitter is very opinionated and the news accounts know this so are more thoughtful with what they say.
The articles I personally looked into seemed to be focused around death which could be because there are so many social issues in America and around the world. There were Syrian refugees dying and drowning, policemen shooting or investigating the shootings of innocent teenagers, and the two news reporters who were murdered while doing a live show. Obviously the content of the articles surrounding death are likely not too uncommon from other news sources, but my partners Izzy and Hannah also looked into articles discussing news in political debates and the politicians lives. The content of these articles vary greatly by news company and author of each article. The group that researched Al Jazeera found very factual and unbiased articles, whereas the group which looked into Fox News had a hard time finding articles which didn’t push Republican ideas in your face. NBC and CNN have very liberal ideologies which was blatantly obvious in their stories as well.
While trying to gather more facts to back up what I had already assumed about the way that mass media works, I found it more interesting that the internet was truly lacking what I searched for. It seemed as though when you search mass media there is a vortex where no information lies other than unrelated shows and novels. People were left to create their own interpretations, and the only facts I could find were those that had already been placed on blogs which individuals had typed out for whichever reason they may have. Through my research I found the following quote which I thought was very intriguing.
“The Central Intelligence Agency owns everyone of any significance in the major media” – William Colby, former CIA Director
This quote is interesting because it practically suggests that news reporters aren’t guilty of being deceitful, but rather that they are forced to by the government. It shifts the blame off of those who are doing the lying. I do believe that maybe they are not all powerful and aren’t completely in control of what they can produce, but I do not believe that the companies are mindless drones spreading whatever they come across without even thinking about it.
In the end, I think it is us who gives the media the power to lie to us. People just believe whatever they are told and do not think that news reporters are just people themselves and also have opinions. People need to question what they are told, and do their own research on key topics to find the truth.