Media is a Business

As humans, we often hear what we want to hear more often than what we should hear. This is especially the case with news stories. The news industry is a business, meaning their main goal is maximizing profit. To maximize profit, one needs to please the consumers, or the people watching the news. This contributes to many news sources targeted towards different audiences, in turn, creating a number of different biases in the news. The main question is how do we pick apart information from different news sources to find out what’s true and what isn’t?

In his book, “Manufacturing Consent”, Noam Chomsky talks about two different kinds of subjects in news – worthy victims and unworthy victims. Unsurprisingly, the group that the news focuses on most of the time is the worthy victims. They’re the ones the public wants to hear about whereas the unworthy victims are the people that the public wouldn’t care about as much. “A propaganda system will consistently portray people abused in enemy states as worthy victims, whereas those treated with equal or greater severity by its own government or clients will be unworthy” (Chomsky). News sources not reporting on what are considered “unworthy victims” is a huge problem in the media and creates a skewed perspective on how people view conflicts around the globe.

Furthermore, news sources will sometimes make assumptions or misinform the general public about these worthy victims to make the news seem more appealing. A very recent example of this pertains to Nelson Mandela who was recently put on life support because of his inability to breath on his own (Huffington Post). Yesterday, a news source called “The Gaurdian Express” launched a news article entitled “Nelson Mandela Life Support Shut Down as Respected Humanitarian Died Age 94”, reporting on something that wasn’t true. In this case, the Guardian made an assumption about the state of Nelson Mandela’s state because of his being put on life support, and turned that assumption into a news article. This soon became the Guardian’s most popular news article even after the public realized it wasn’t true. To be fair, the Guardian has since updated their wrongful assumption and added a question mark to the title.

Now raises the question, which news sources can be trusted and which can’t. The first is to try and avoid news sources geared towards a specific audience such as Fox News or the front page of Reddit. Second, always take news stories with a grain of salt, don’t hesitate to check multiple news sources to try and get the whole picture on current events. A good global news station would be NPR. NPR’s number one goal is to spread information on current events around the world, they have reporters all over the world sharing what they see and hear in their areas, then relaying it to the radio station. They aren’t geared as much towards a specific audience as much as many other news sources.

As a global citizen, one needs to realize that media is a business. Near everything they report on is what the public subconsciously hear, news about victims they can sympathize with, even if the source is incorrect. A global citizen needs to be able to second guess everything, stay unbiased in their learning about an event, even if a news source is. This is often tough to do since we have many different biases instilled in us, but it’s important to learn how to deal with media today even if it can often be frustrating.

 

Anderson, Jessica Cumberbatch. “Nelson Mandela On Life Support (REPORT).” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 26 June 2013. Web.

Chomsky, Noam. “Manufacturing Consent: CHAPTER 2: WORTHY AND UNWORTHY VICTIMS.” Winkest Leak. Web.

Smith, Michael. “The Guardian Express.” The Guardian Express. Frackle Media, 26 June 2013. Web.

 

This entry was posted in Assignment 10, Assignments. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.