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Posts Tagged ‘media’

Media doesn’t control anyone

In Economy, Education, finances, Media, News Media, Opinion, Politics, psychology, Religion, sociology, Technology, Uncategorized on August 4, 2016 at 10:01 am

Deer In Headlines
By Gery L. Deer

DIH LOGOIf you do a Google search for, “how the media controls what we think,”you’ll find dozens of articles, videos and feature stories on the subject. Each claims that news programs, TV commercials and even movies are so powerful they can actually control your mind.

To say that I find fault in these kinds of reports would be an understatement, but what exactly are they talking about? Let’s briefly examine these as separate concepts. First, there’s the advertiser. How is it that advertisers create commercials that convince people to buy things they didn’t even want in the first place?

Well there are countless components to creating an effective advertisement, but the primary way to get customers to buy is through media saturation. This is where you see and hear an ad for a product or service over and over again, on every medium – radio, TV, online, everywhere. Eventually, the message is so engrained into your mind you can’t help but remember it.

If you’re a commercial radio and television consumer, the best example of this kind of advertising is from auto dealers. Car dealerships flood the media with the same, nauseating advertisements, chock full of shouting announcers or gimmicky slogans.

Actually, when advertisers saturate the airwaves like this, the ads don’t event have to be particularly good, just slightly memorable with the name and product repeated over and over again. It’s the frequency that causes you to remember them.

There is no question that the media gets in our heads. Today we are so connected by the Internet and on every manner of device that some people struggle to be away from the constant flow of information even for a brief period of time. All of this has led to the idea of what is sometimes called “media mind control.”

You're probably far more likely to be "brainwashed" by a company like Apple that convinces you how "cool" something is and play on your own vanity. You're still making the choice.

You’re probably far more likely to be “brainwashed” by a company like Apple that convinces you how “cool” something is and plays on your own vanity. You’re still making the choice.

But, in my opinion, as a working part of the media in question, all of this is nonsense… sort of. If you really believe an ad can “make” you buy something or that the news can force you to vote for a particular candidate for office, then that’s pretty sad. Where is your own free will? Why follow the lemmings?

Media can “influence” the decision making process by presenting information tooled towards a certain message or ideology. But the decision to buy into any of that is all on you. The people writing the mind control articles I mentioned earlier have forgotten one, basic idea – we all have a freedom of choice and will.

Even though it might not seem like it sometimes, people choose what they’re going to believe. Advertisers and politicians are hoping you don’t exercise that free thought component of your brain and just follow blindly where their media leads.

Yes, they will play your heartstrings like a cheap fiddle and go at your sense of need and desire until you feel like you can’t live without … whatever they’re selling. But if you are so brain dead that you actually fall for their nonsense, then that’s your fault, not theirs.

We must stop blaming the media for everything and take some personal responsibility for our own bad judgment. News outlets reporting on a shooting did not cause the next mass murder, the guy on the trigger chose his actions. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton didn’t “manipulate” anyone into following them, the choice was made by each individual. Period. Any other conclusion is a bit delusional and conspiracy-minded.

Again, influence is the key word here. You can be influenced easily enough, but full on “manipulation” by the media, or anything else, is based on a level of control that we, as individuals, have to give up in order to be affected by it. If you choose to hand over your independent thought and free will then the problem rests with you, not the media you consume.

This, no doubt, will be an unpopular statement considering the “my bad behavior is someone else’s fault” society we live in today. But it’s true, nonetheless. Without threat of harm or other level of duress from an outside source, the only person who can make you do anything – is you.

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer. Deer In Headlines is distributed by GLD Enterprises Communications, Ltd. More at deerinheadlines.com

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Stop the presses. Please?

In Children and Family, Entertainment, Media, Opinion, Politics, psychology, sociology, Technology, television, Uncategorized on December 18, 2012 at 10:41 am

mic1DEER IN HEADLINES

By Gery L. Deer

Following the horrific shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, I’ve debated whether to weigh in as yet another part of the media’s relentless armchair quarterbacking of the tragedy. When I finally decided to write about it, I thought I’d take a slightly different approach. Even though I am a part of the machinery of the American press, I believe they deserve a scolding.

From the moment the news hit the wires that a gunman had opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary, the press has been relentless in its coverage. Every media outlet has surpassed the necessary “news” aspects of the story, as each tries to scoop the other with grotesque detail, or by displaying the most painful tale from surviving parents and children.

None of this is necessary. As Newtown tries to begin what is certain to be a long and difficult recovery from these events, it has become a media circus. Completely oblivious to how invasive and unwelcome they are, television news programs are broadcasting remotely from every open parking lot, thrusting microphones and cameras into the faces of grieving parents and neighbors.

If the pointless commentary by coffee mug wielding morning show hosts isn’t enough to make you sad for the state of our news agencies, factor in that both sides of the gun control debate are using this awful event as a pulpit for their ridiculous agendas. Other commentators suggested the shooting would distract the public from the Fiscal Cliff debate. Apparently, the ignorance of such an unprofessional media just continues to flow. Politicizing such unspeakable tragedy is reprehensible and, for lack of a stronger word, moronic in the highest degree.

Additionally, when the media gives exploiters a platform, they are just as guilty. While the American press has the responsibility to report, they also have an equal liability to know when enough is enough and let respect and good taste outweigh greed for ratings gold.

No matter how many guest experts are interviewed or what level of speculation goes into the motivations of the troubled man who pulled the trigger, or even how many cameras are shoved into the faces of survivors, we may never know the real reasons why these things happen. Endlessly debating the issue on morning talk shows will do nothing more than provide a better plan for the next unstable loner to do it more efficiently.

As the days and weeks pass, the frenzy will die down and Newtown residents will be left to deal with things on their own. Unfortunately, because of the nature of this event and our country’s twisted fascination with mass murder and other horrific crimes, the families will be faced with constant reminders in the media, books, online, everywhere. They will have something in common with those who lost loved ones in the Twin Towers on 9/11. They will forever be forced to relive that day over and over because of the public’s sick thirst for grotesque detail.

From my point of view, this will happen again; not because of guns or some madman’s quest for power but because our nation aggrandizes the killer and the event. It’s likely that there are more mentally ill people out there who see an act of deadly aggression as his or her only way to get noticed and distort that undying craving for attention into an internally-driven martyr complex.

Those who guard our schools, theatres and malls need to be on the alert, now more than ever. Thanks in no small part to the media’s continuous exposition, somewhere out there, sitting quietly in a dark room, the next shooter is deteriorating into madness and admiring the mayhem of this most recent horror.

Make no mistake – I do not blame the media for the acts of a madman. But I do blame them for their lack of good taste and journalistic judgment. We are lucky to have a free press, but there is a point where complete coverage becomes blatant commercialization and exploitation of tragedy.

 

 

Don’t Believe Everything You Read. Seriously, don’t.

In Entertainment, Local News, Media, Opinion, Politics, psychology, television, Uncategorized on April 3, 2012 at 12:29 pm

By Gery L. Deer

Deer In Headlines

 

For reasons I still can’t totally understand, many people insist on believing whatever they read on a printed (or digital) page, regardless of how inane or baseless the material may seem. Generally the topic or tone falls in line with the reader’s interests or personal opinions and if it strikes them just the right way they fall for it, bait, hook and headline.

For example, while I appreciate the loyalty of my readers, I always encourage them to explore for themselves whatever topics I present and not simply take my word for it. An op-ed (opinion-editorial) column like mine offers one or two viewpoints about a particular topic but always has a ‘slant’ to it. For the author, the column can serve several purposes.

Some op-ed columnists are simply trying to put a voice to a particular viewpoint and provide food for thought to the reader. Others are doing everything they can to sway public opinion, by whatever means available to them, even by misrepresenting the facts.

Talk radio personalities and television news commentators offer the broadcast version of a written editorial column, usually with a much wider reach and, thus, a larger audience. Broadcast celebrity opinionists (my word for them) have one goal which is to please the advertisers by increasing ratings.

Banging on the desk and yelling, playing sound bites out of context and using as much spin as possible, these over paid blowhards ply the mushy brains of audiences with a lot of self-appointed authority. That authority is false but accepted by the masses, leaving them unable to tell the difference between fact and sensationalism.

Eventually, the Internet provided yet another outlet as audiences took to the computer screen for their news and information. So much pseudo-journalism has flooded the web that many now question the legitimacy and accuracy, not to mention the political slant, of modern news agencies. Take blogs for example.

The word blog is a shortened form of web log. Blogging started out simply enough as the ramblings of disgruntled workers or bored housewives who found an audience for their personal diatribes in the vast wasteland of the information superhighway. Over time, the number of blog followers has begun to surpass broadcast news and print journalism.

Depending on the content, a blog can attract millions of readers worldwide. According to the website InitialTraffic.com, the official blog of The Huffington Post was the most visited blog website of 2011 citing millions of hits for the publication. Other blogs have become mainstream resources, having transformed from op-ed material to news and video content.

Competition for subscribers and high-volume audiences is fierce between media outlets and some will do whatever it takes to keep advertising and subscription revenue coming in. It’s important that readers know the difference between opinion, editorial, news and sensationalist content. But how do you tell the difference?

An article or broadcast story that can be considered ‘news’ will provide the reader with the who, what, why, when and how of a topic, giving you the information without commentary or speculation. An opinion or editorial piece will include conjecture or literally offer the writer’s views in an attempt to slant the story or alter public perception of the topic.

In my columns, I generally cite the facts of a current event, a quote by a politician (in its entirety, so the context is clear), express the concerns of fellow citizens or I will base the work on a historical reference of some kind. The idea is to provide the solid, factual basis for whatever argument I wish to make.

For all of the chatter online, on television and on the radio, your local newspaper, in my opinion, is still your best bet for accurate news coverage regarding events immediately affecting you and your family. Online or in print, it offers a ground-level look at the day-to-day happenings without the ‘noise.’ Whatever your choice for news and commentary, be an informed reader.

 

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