Many of us are guilty of a disastrous habit: excessive media intake. We all want to stay updated with what is the latest news in our city and in the world – but are you conscious of how the media is affecting your perceptions of the world?
Consider social media, in most developed countries, it’s often a grand hub for people to share their life tailored to the way they want other people to perceive them! Think about that for a moment. Don’t you, as well, manage what you are putting online in order to create an image that you are pleased with or to support the ideals you believe in? Admittedly, I do. Subconsciously or consciously, we all do it.
Why wouldn’t media outlets do this as well? The scary thing is that the media doesn’t tailor its image and messages necessarily to what they want. It’s manipulated by the companies and governments funding that specific news outlet. For example, some people can tell the difference between news outlets that are conservative or liberal simply based on the stories they cover.
This is because the news, messages, imagery that they use, all convey the message intended. It’s very difficult to get unbiased news, unbiased stories and unbiased opinions of course… Which is why it’s very important for people to understand that when they are consuming media, to not simply take in all the information at face value.
There is much to cover when speaking about the influence media has on our perceptions and our happiness, but with this blog post I will stop myself at a subject that I think is relevant today.
Much of the media we see today is filled with messages of fear. Seems familiar doesn’t it? Turning on the TV and hearing about all of the terrible events around the world such as terrorist attacks, gun violence, violence against women and children… It’s inevitable when watching the news and even on social media.
Unfortunately news like this instills fear into people, and worse, it even often creates stereotypes of who to be afraid of. “Islamophobia” is the most talked about issue these days with a lot of attacks being linked with ISIS. However, this impacts the lives of all those affiliated with this link made by the media and ingested by the public. The words being used when the news is told, has a great impact on how people perceive different groups of people. The Black Lives Matter movement in the U.S. is another example of a group of people still needing to fight for the simplest right of being valued and viewed equally without negative perceptions or associations.
Unfortunately, not all that is shown in the media is reality. Stories have different sides, which need to all be considered. Most of the time, they are not and things are displayed in a way that can really negatively affect a person or a group of persons, when they could have been innocent all along.
There are many stories like this around the world and that’s why its important to not take what is said in all types of media outlets as facts and keep an open mind.
– Danielle Marquis