In a previous blog post I talked about what media is and who we interact with media on a daily basis. Now I’d like to talk about the effects of media. Particularly the effects of news media (you know, ABC Network, Fox News, NBC, etc.).
As Quentin Schultze points out in his book Communicating for Life, the news media really “creates” and “destroys” the world in which we live. I know this is very true for myself. I flip on the TV, there’s a story about a horrible murder in the city (of which I live in a suburb to) and immediately I’m grabbed by this fear for my own safety. Not once did I evaluate the credibility of the story, not once did I consider the fact that I live in much safer area of town or the fact that the murder was gang/drug related (of which I not involved). I simply allowed the shocking nature of the story to override all of my rational thinking abilities.
And that’s what media does. They have a captive audience and deliver the “dramatic effect” that their viewers are craving. Now, they can’t continually make up false stories that are completely out of the blue, but if you don’t think news sources get the stories mixed up or stretch the truth for dramatic effect, you are greatly mistaken.
So what does this mean, what can we do? Well for one, we can stop buying what they are selling. Yes, it’s important to be informed but at what cost? Maybe it’s time to limit your consumption of news media or maybe you need to start getting your information from a different source. The main point is that passively taking in countless forms of media without truly thinking about how their information is affecting your life will do you more harm then good.