I believe that mass media specifically through TV manipulate and affect public opinion by transmitting misleading information. Manipulation is dangerous since the real intentions of the manipulator are hidden by presenting false arguments that appeal to the non-rational and emotional side of the TV viewers In order to Influence public opinion. Walter Lifespan, In his assay Public Opinion, describes mass media (specifically the press as “the chief means of contact with the unseen environment” (Chapter XI Lifespan).
He argues that the process by which public opinion arises is a complex one and people who understand it have an advantage to manipulate information and thus create or manufacture an image of public consent. In other words, public opinion can be influenced by mass media by creating and presenting an image of uniformity of Ideas. Thus, the target of the mass media will have the Impression that what It Is presented by the media “Is the truth”. When Lapin’s assay was published (1921 ) the main instrument for mass media was the press. Today, TV has replaced newspapers with its live images.
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Nevertheless, the principles described in Lapin’s assay still apply. One of the best-known examples of utilization of mass media through TV to influence public opinion was during the Vietnam War. At the beginning of the conflict, the US government provided Information through mass media, Indicating the US was winning such war, when In reality there were few advances and many us soldiers were dying (discussed by McLaughlin, E. ). One of the most outspoken critics of such practice at that time was NOAA Chomsky, a MIT professor, who in 1988 wrote “Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media”.
In this book he proposes that mass media is used by big business and government to support their interests. Chomsky describes In his book a series of “filters” that mass media used to hectically provide blabs Information or propaganda. Those filters are ownership, funding, sources, flak (pressures groups) and norms. By combining these filters mass media frame their message and present propaganda that supports government activities and big business operations. A frequent remark quoted from Chomsky work is “Propaganda is to Democracy what violence is to Dictatorship”.
Jack M. Balkan from Yale University argues that mass media specifically uses TV to present a false Image of political transparency and thus confuse the public to avoid armorial presented in the written press and requires reading and analysis of ideas. TV has become the primary outlet of information in our society and politicians constantly use this media to deliver their propaganda. Balkan proposes that TV provides a false image of transparency in three different areas: informational transparency, participatory transparency, and accountability transparency.
Basically, he proposes that TV presents images that substitute the discussion of important political and economical issues with issues that are more “entertainment” such as lattice infighting, scandals, and even the private life of politicians. In Puerco Rich, we recently experienced how politicians use mass media to delivered propaganda. In the TV show “La Comma’, scandals were presented as “news” which substituted the discussion of real important issues. For example, “La Comma’ started a rumor about the murder off man called Jose Alexandra Gomez. La Comma’ announced that Alexandra Gomez was involved with male and female prostitutes and because of that he deserved his death. The public instead of focusing on the real important issue about the death of this man was instead soused on the scandal that “La Comma’ had exposed about this murder. It became pure entertainment instead of news. Transparency was presented in terms of discussion of issues that caught the attention of the TV viewers but that had little meaning to the economic and political problems of the island.
The majority of the people on the island saw this TV program instead of the traditional TV news. During the past political campaign, politicians made TV appearances on “La Comma’ in order to be interviewed. These interviews offered an image of political transparency, which as not real since it focused on the private life of the politicians and not in the discussion of issues or problems. The images presented by La Comma influenced many people as demonstrated by different polls.
On the other hand, the TV channel that transmitted “La Comma’ obtained high profits though the advertising sponsors. As Lifespan states, “the machinery for assembling information is technical and expensive” (Chapter XI Lifespan). “La Comma’ is no longer part of Puerco Rice’s mass media industry but a new generation of less controversial (but equally superficial) TV shows has flourished. How an we as a society be aware of how TV and other mass media manipulates and influences public opinion?