American Media Essay
The American media is an active, purposeful promoter of goods and ideas, but with power comes great responsibility. American media has a responsibility to act with the best interests of the American public in mind. The media is an active promoter of goods, services, and ideas, but by doing this they become a business and no longer have the best interests of the people in mind. In the modern world the rise of digital communications along with inventions like the Internet have increased the media’s range, and the number of ways it can be viewed. The media is a business, and as such its sole purpose is to make a profit even if it is at the expense of the consumer. The media encompasses television, radio, magazines, newspapers, music, internet websites, and other digital methods of communication. All of which are having a profoundly negative impact on American society in numerous ways.
One of the negative effects the media has on American society is the impact on self-image. For instance the media has profoundly negative impacts on self-image. Advertisements, celebrities, and magazines all contain item within them that can have negative impacts on body image. The media tells people what the societal-norm is and how to achieve this ‘norm.’ Millions of people then feel insecure and suffer because when they look in the mirror what they see isn’t the same as the constant messages they are being harassed with. Women are told to be skinny, tall, wear certain clothes, and act certain ways. Men need to be big, strong, and macho. The media is constantly sending these signals out everyday. The constant barrage of this message on those who don’t fit their stereotype can cause psychological disorders such as bulimia and anorexia. Everywhere we look we see unattainable images swarming around us, it seems as though it is a fad we can not get away from.
Sarah Stephen said in her 1998 article ‘Fat is Still A Feminist Issue’ ‘Babies aren’t born hating their bodies but instead grow up to learn that fat is bad; and thinness will bring you happiness.
The media relentless shows violence on a day to day basis on programs accessible to everyone. Violence in the media is the most critical way in which the media acts against our interests. We don’t need to see crimes or violence portrayed to such a great extent in the media. A study preformed by the Cato Institute showed that in one week of content analysis of prime-time output on seven New York City channels, there were 3,421 acts and threats of violence observed. What was even more disturbing was that children’s fictional entertainment programs had three times the frequency of violent acts or threats recorded in adult programs.
This means that before graduating from high school the average child will have witnessed 8,000 murders and 200,000 acts of violence on television. This overwhelming exposure to violence means only one thing: violence sells, and sells big. But then the question that is raised is, at what cost? Studies also preformed by the Cato institute have consistently found a correlation between aggressive behavior, lack of emotion, and a blurred sense of reality in small children all of these studies show that violence in the media leads to disaffected yet aggressive kids). ‘Violence is a part of the human condition, then so is responsibility. In real life, you just do not commit mayhem and then go on to the next scene.’ The media isn’t looking down the road 20 years to analyze the affects that their constant messages will have the next generation of Americans, they only looking at there bottom line.
Lastly, the media is highly biased and is helping to contribute to the continued polarization of America. It is a known fact that biased to what side depends on the radio station, the newspaper, and of course the TV channel. This bias is most important to the major news outlets of the country, they appeal to there viewers which is causing People to become increasingly more channel specific because Fox News is full of conservative psychos and CBS News is full of godless, granola eating wack-o’s. In a 20/20 segment aired in June, 2006 said,
‘We watch and listen to our liberal media. We visit our liberal blogs and websites. We watch and listen to our conservative media. We visit our conservative blogs and websites. We go to our liberal union meetings, political rallies, and protests. We go to our conservative churches, political rallies, and protests. We self sort and self select for liberal or conservative states. We even self sort, self select, and move into conservative neighborhoods or liberal neighborhoods.’
The media has done nothing to fight against these ideas; they have only perpetuated the situation. There have been no proposals to work together to end this bias, instead there is perpetual competition and the continued polarization of America. The reports on the news add their subtle little twists, and what you get is Americans who distrust one another and have distorted ideas, which are a blur of fact and opinion. Media defenders claim that watching movies and TV does not affect behavior, but if that were true there wouldn’t be a multibillion dollar advertising industry.
Failing to be a responsible, the media presents a grave and unprecedented threat to American families. How can you protect someone per se a child from omnipresent foe that has the power to put up their images everywhere. The media doesn’t need to be stopped, it isn’t some threat out to get us, but it is necessary to reform it in a way so that it acts in a way that works in the best interest of the American people.