Tv And Media Effect Television is a vital source from which most Americans receive information. News and media delegates on television have abused theirs powers over society through the airing of appealing news shows that misinform the public.
Through literary research and experimentation, it has been proven that people’s perception of reality has been altered by the information they receive from such programs. Manipulation, misinterpretation, word arrangement, picture placement and timing are all factors and tricks that play a major role in the case. Research, experimentation, and actual media coverage has pinpointed actual methods used for deceptive advertising. Television influences society in many ways. People are easily swayed to accept a belief that they may not normally have unless expressed on television, since many people think that everything they hear on television is true.
This, however, is not always the case. It has been observed that over the past twenty to thirty years, normal social behavior, even actual life roles of men and women and media, regulatory policies have all been altered (Browne 1998). Media has changed with time, along with quality and respectability. Many Americans receive and accept false information that is merely used as an attention grabber that better the show’s ratings and popularity. Many magazines and Journal reviews have periodically discussed the “muckraking” that many tabloid shows rely on to draw in their viewers.
This involves sensationalizing a story to make it more interesting, therefore increasing the interest of the audience. “Along the way, all sorts of scandalous substance and goofy tricks appear, but not much mystery in the logic,” (Garnson 1997). People often know that these shows aim to deceive them, but still accept the information as truth. Many times, people have strong opinions on certain topics. Yet, when they are exposed to the other side of the argument, they may be likely to agree with the opposite view. As Leon Festinger said, “If I chose to do it (or say it), I must believe in it,” (Myers 1997).
This is an example of Festinger’s cognitive dissonance theory, which pertains to acting contrary to our beliefs. Television influences many people to change their original beliefs. It has the viewers think that the majority of other people hold the contrary idea. Once these views are presented, people have the option to hold strong to their beliefs or conform to what they feel the rest of society believes. Though conforming is not necessarily bad, it can confuse people and therefore allow them to believe false ideas. When someone is under an informational social influence and is willing to change their views, the fine line between the truth and fiction is clouded.
It is; however, important to keep an open mind and not let any personal prejudices influence a decision on an important topic. Though agreeing with an idea simply to be accepted by others in society is questionable. Joseph Joybert, an essayist from the eighteenth century once said, “Those who never retract their opinions love themselves more than they love truth” (Myers 1997). Which emphasizes the importance of open-mindedness. Television is in the convenient position of being able to influence people when they are most vulnerable. Open-mindedness can often be treated as gullibility and therefore used as a tool to manipulate people’s beliefs.
Daschmann has stated a reason for this gullibility. He claims that a certain amount of gullibility or understanding of certain news shows comes with social factors. Some people are raised with a different education and status with society than others, which hinges on the perception of the different news shows and material. But the individual differences and character traits do not have a bearing on the subject matter (Daschmann & Kepplinger 1997). These news shows then place the ball in the public’s court and they must figure out what to do with it themselves. It is very difficult for normal people to know whom to believe.
So many intelligent Americans accept the information that they receive from television because they could not imagine being deceived. They think only morons can be influenced by television, but do not even realize how easily they are confusing truth for fiction and tabloid fluff. The tabloid shows are so questionable that even those within the industry are unsure of their motivations. According to Zoglin, these programs “- are scorned by mainstream journalists, dismissed by most critics, laughed at by many viewers. Yet when sensational crimes and celebrity scandals grab the nation’s attention, these are the shows that do the spadework, uncover the dirt, and get the scoops. Their style may be cheesy and there tactics dicey, but they are doing a lot of old-fashioned, roll-up-your-sleeves journalism,” (Zoglin 1997).
Of course these shows need to work hard on their stories, but their reasons are not always for the sake of reporting the truth. Tabloid news programs serve the purpose of entertainment for the public, and in order to ensure good ratings, they must produce the best stories. These stories seem well put together and researched, but this should not make them seem any more truthful than the thrown-together, late- breaking and unorganized news we see on legitimate news program. Deborah Baldwin wrote about how the media spoon-feeds us the news and how the general public routinely eats it up (Moser 1998).
Media is so caught up in ratings, cash and the bottom line that other quality factors are thrown aside. Language is altered, the truth is stretched and the flesh is multiplied. Unfortunately, most Americans eat it up every day. There is a problem that society must deal with. This problem is that as long as there are people who will tune into these tabloid news shows and accept the information that they receive as truth, these shows will be getting exactly what they want and will continue to confuse the public for entertainment value. Joshua Gamson argues that all of the major networks risk their trust-based credibility and televise only audience-attractive stories (Gamson 1997).
Tabloid shows may try to change their reputation, but the reality seems to be that many people know that these shows are questionable but tune in anyway. People are confused by the information they receive and will be as long as they allow themselves access to shows that will alter the truth of a topic. In 1996, during the O.J. Simpson trial, two news/ media shows were both observed and compared. The focus was on what was the main story and how were they presented.
Bruce Sanford of Media Studies Journal evaluates the difference in free press and free trial. The fact of the matter is, an innocent until proven guilty mindset is thrown out the window when it comes to a case of this media covered caliber, “The phrases free press and fair trial are Anglo-American ideals, often presented as if they are at odds with each other.” He continued by saying “Since the mid-1980’s no decision has addressed the media’s First Amendment rights to cover the courts, reflecting a judicial attitude towards the media, bordering on contempt” (Sanford 1998). The two shows evaluated in the study clearly handicapped Mr. Simpson in a fair trial arrangement. They twisted, manipulated and controlled what the public would think and feel about the O.J.
trial. Students from North Central College conducted a small, on-campus experiment. The “TV Reality” survey showed evidence that television has changed people’s perception of reality. The students were given a short quiz that tested to see what kind of information they were receiving from the news and media.
One of the points was to see how effective and accurate the information was to the students. One of the questions asked was “What is the homicide rate in America per one hundred thousand population?” More than the majority of the students whom took the survey was incorrect upon answering this question. TV and the media have slowly over-saturated our mainstream of thinking so that what we see on TV is what we perceive as truth. When in actuality, nothing could be farther from the truth.
An explanation why so many people were wrong again is that the average television viewer witnesses over six killings a day, over twenty- two hundred in a year. In a related finding, Janet Fink from the Journal of Physical Educati …