July 30, 2009

What the Media Can Do

The news media is a very important thing. That goes without saying. From the newspapers, television, radio and Internet (yours truly can't forget that last one), we obtain our knowledge of what's going on in the world. We get the facts.

But we also get so much more.

Almost every source is biased, whether to an individual (-cough- Sarah Palin's website) or to a party or a party's general ideology (i.e., most major news stations and oftentimes this blogger's posts). But we can sometimes calculate for bias, if we pay enough attention. No, the media has a power yet more subtle that can oh-so-quietly change our minds. Because the media can, instead of openly endorsing a certain school of thought, lead our minds in certain directions...

Take today's New York Times headline, for example: "New Poll Finds Growing Unease On Health Plan." This is of course true, and the poll legitimate; if it wasn't we'd lose faith in the Times, wouldn't we? But the part that makes me a tad uneasy (and a bit in awe of the Times' not-so-slight subtlety) is that just by reading this headline, I almost felt myself growing more uneasy about the health plan. Why? Because we as Americans and as people are generally influenced by majority rule. If the Times says the majority is becoming uneasy, then we become uneasy.

Of course the news must be reported and discomfort with the giant healthcare reform probably is indeed the trend of popular opinion; but isn't it true that by choosing which popular opinions and which stories to report the media can influence our thoughts on certain issues? If, for example, the Times had run a story explaining the complete confidence President Obama has in his health plan, perhaps the American public would have found more confidence instead of less in the aforementioned health reform.

This, my dear readers, is what the media can do...

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