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Witless
Ok, so it gets mentioned in virtually every issues topic but I decided I wanted to make a topic specifically about th media. In this post the media is a synonym for things like magazine, news (tv), newspapers and parts of the entertainment industry that deal with issues like how we should act, or report on 'real stories'.

I can't seem decided whether the media truelly is evil or whether it is more a reflecion of something about human nature. But I am very scared of the media. terrorism would have maybe a tenth of the impact without the media, and we also would feel a million times safer in the western world without the media reminding us every two seconds about the various ways across the globe there are of potentially having your life uprooted, or being killed.

It's not that I want the media banned, on the contrary, I honest to god believe that the media is exhibiting a fairly high level of free speech in the western world (contrary to popular belief) that I think is great. It's just that very often does it seem to be causing more harm than good. Like with that Cho fellow using the media as a platform for his despair and killings. I don't want to bring up whether or not the media should have shown his videos or not. But the fact that Cho knew there was a good chance he would get what he wanted and that this knowledge in turn became part of his motive.. that's more than a little worrying.

But back to what I was saying earlier about it being a reflection of human nature. The news, newspapers, tv shows, and magazines. They don't choose what people will buy. People do, the magazines that stray too far from printing what people want go out of business before long and cease to exist. The media we have today is the concentrated left overs of the 100s of 1000s of formats and news styles that gets tryed out every year across the world. Everything else fails quickly, or is relagated to very few viewers and a limited audience at best. So in a sense we are getting the only things the majoriotity of paying consumers are agreeing to buy. The media, and entertainment industrys are just an indirect response to our indirect requests.

That's a bit overly simplified however, that does ignore the effect of role models. After all I am a believer in the idea that humans are social pack animals (albeit very very sophisticated clever ones). We look to one another and syncronise with one another to try and fit in. (Anyone that says different is a liar) It's why communities develop, and it's why when talking with my friend as they ramble on about celebrity big brother I find it very difficult to fit in a conversation about the practicalities and difficulties of time travel.

So to some level our likes and dislikes are effected by the media or by a friend who was in turn affected by the media. Some people do the opposite to whatever the media says. For instance while the media may be telling us to buy the newest car we maybe ranting on about he environment (and in turn needing a public platform of our own to voice view points and becomeing a kind of anti-media, media). So the media influences us and we in turn influence the media in this weird back and forth situation.

So does anything need to change? Would any change be for the better? I don't know, every change I can think of has big repurcussions somewhere else, and there's no way to know whteher that would be worse than the current situaion in which I find the media quite scary.

Before i end my most poorly constructed post ever, I'll elaborate on why i find the Media scary. Because they sell fear to the masses is why. They seem to do it in every form. They tell us "what not to wear" how to look, and what to be afraid of, They sensationlise all the nastier sides of human nature. They encourage us to gawk at the unusual, and teach us how breaking ettiquette is the worst thing ever. Even a large branch of comedy now has it's central themes around laughing at someone because they don't know how to act, or are otherwise atypical (bring back charlie chaplin i say! (mmm... zombie charlie))

It's like the show all the bad sides of community. Intolerance, and lack of individuality. Without the sides of community that are benficial like a feeling of banding together. Generally I find the media more distastful than not, though I can't say I would prefer a world with no media and no voices communicationg news to the masses. I suppose my perfect media would reflect as much of the good side of human nature as the dirtier side.
Daria
I am on the fence with this one. I am between "Ignorance is bliss; just because we don't know about something, doesn't make the world safer" and "We don't need to know every little thing".

For instance, what happened to the Killer Bees that were meant to invade America a few years back? How come all the children aren't being molested at school? I thought Britain was FULL of paedophiles. (Then again, I have been watching BrassEye a bit too much).

On the other hand, I like to know what is going on in the world. I would like to know if there is a war in Sudan, if the Russians are stockpiling nuclear arms, or if the dictator of China was overthrown in a bloody revolt. (The use of the word "Dictator" is deliberate)
I wouldn't be able to do anything about any one of the situations- but I would still like to know.
An interesting thing- take global warming. MOST people believe that the global temperature is going up. Most of those people believe it is to do with greenhouse gasses, CFCs, Carbon Footprints (yeah, I'm just using buzzwords now) and lack of recycling- which is true, to an extent.
And so with the MASS of media frenzy about being "green", you see governments, businesses and people changing the way they do things to try and "combat the effects of global warming"- whatever that is really meant to mean. (The phrase reminds me of that "War on terror" one Bush is so proud of).
But what if the rise in temperature isn't just about CO2 emissions and recycling? What if it is all just a big coincidence?
Well, so what? People are recycling- an excellent thing in itself.
People are using less fuel- another excellent thing.
So does it really matter if what the people have been told is wrong, even if they are doing the right things?

Last time I was talking about this to some people, I got told I was scarily verging on Neo-conservatism, and should stop.
pgrmdave
I think that any media, be it news, magazines, television, film, painting, sculpture, music...is a reflection of those who listen to/ read / watch it. Especially in a free market. I think that the reason we see bad news exploded beyond the reasonable is because deep down, we want to believe that the world is a bad, scary place. I don't know why this is, but people seem almost reassured that bad things are happening. Perhaps it helps justify their fears. Maybe they want to feel like a good person in a bad world. Maybe it's a bit of schadenfreude, or a feeling of "at least it's not happening to me". Maybe people who don't feel that they are fully trustworthy expect other people to take advantage of them. Maybe we want our media to reflect our expectations of society, rather than our society itself. In any case, the media (at least in the US) is controlled solely by one thing - the consumer. Anybody who watches a show has given their support (no matter how tacit) to the show, the context of the show, the meaning of the show, and the network which broadcasts it.
Daria
I would argue that it isn't JUST down to the consumer, especially if you are taking into account media such as YouTube or Digg- two prime examples:
~Videos of the recent MayDay escapades by the Space Hijackers have been removed from YouTube and the uploaders' acounts deleted. The videos showed clips of policemen arresting people, trying to herd them out of the way and generally being obnoxious.
~The HD DVD code thingy. Digg has since given up on deleting pages with this on after the amount of people who complained (i.e those who use Linux etc etc) and so will NOW let people Digg pages with the code on it- but before they would delete them all because they were affiliated with the people who didn't want the code being used. (I can't be bothered to find the link, too hungover.)

So, yeah- media is led by the people but I would say it is controlled by money and The Powers That Be.
pgrmdave
And who is it who provides that money for them? Corporations that buy advertising space. And what does that advertising do? It increases the chances of their products being bought. Why does it work? Because we see it. If we weren't watching that show, and tacitly agreeing with it, then there wouldn't be any reason to advertise during it, thus no reason to buy advertising, thus the show wouldn't be profitable.
sirdudly
I saw Bill O'Rielly and James Carville at a lecture last friday. One point they made was that we live in an age where there is a lot more communication. The various ways that information is passed, things like newspapers, television networks, and the blogosphere, are making it so that there is more information readily available to the citizen than there ever was before. But all this information doesn't exactly make the citizen better informed, especially since it is difficult to distinguish truth and bias. So it is quite possible that many people are simply overwhelemed by the overload of viewpoints and are turned off by politics in whole.
Oh yeah, O'Rielly also made a young woman cry.
Wookiee
Gragh. The first post here makes my brain itch. It might be because of the desperate, melodramatic overuse of the collective noun. "The Media" is like a paranoid umbrella term for omnipresent, aggressive brainwashing. In fact, in 2007 there is more media than ever, more rich and diverse, interactive and democratic, more widely available.

Sirdudly there has actually said something very similar to a post I made today in another forum, discussing vote-caging and the 2008 election as posited by Greg Palast; of course internet media can be biased or used to misinform. The responsibility, I guess, falls to the reader to decide whether to accept information as fact, or seek to verify and contextualise themselves.

Certain media outlets should be better regulated; this is a big problem in the States, as Fox News is so obviously skewed, but money and alliegances allow it to continue as, essentially, a GOP propaganda machine. I think the biggest part of the problem is people are content to passively absorb televisuanews and accept it as fact, rather than seek out factual reporting and committed, honest journalism and form their own opinion.

Blame "The Media" all you like, but I think the real problem lies in education, and scapegoating an imaginary power bloc is symptomatic of that.
Calantyr
I have to agree with the Wookie.

News sources, and media outlets as a whole, have a demographic they serve to. They know this and they pander to it. You may call it shocking, vile, stupid, whatever. The fact remains that for some people it is exactly what they want, and in many cases need.

Need? Well yes. It's nice to think that we are all intelligent, informed, and unbiased individuals. The problem is that is rubbish. For the majority of people on the majority of issues, peoples 'media of choice' is accepted because it tells people what they want to hear. Be it the radical opinions of Fox News or the comparatively liberal views of BBC news. Whether CNN floats your boat or you read Pravda, it's all the same. People, by and large, like stability and it's -their- world view that gives it. They just want it enforced.

Scapegoats, happy fluffy cocoons, or the brutal realities of the world that makes you just so thankful that you are a smart person who knows better than the poor schmucks caught in troubles around the world. People just like being 'right'. And sometimes they like to feel persecuted. it 'justifies' them.

I'm no different. I like to think I'm smart but I still watch BBC News 24 even though I know it's biased. I read blogs and forums looking for alternative views, but more often than not it feels like it's merely a method of enforcing what I already 'know'. Perhaps I'm not as open-minded as I'd like to think I am.
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