The Science of Manipulation: The Mass Media Hoax

Mass media in the current society shapes everything. Right from what products you use to what your perception of global events is. Techniques of sensationalization, creation of hysteria, mass propaganda are the most common tools used by the media to influence the public. Ratings are everything in today’s money driven media industry, and interests of the public are rarely taken into consideration. The media is perfectly capable of converting the most simplest of statements into ones that amaze, astonish and puzzle the audience. Frankly, would you watch a news piece which just states plain facts and data or one which flashes it at you through colourful graphics, animation and other techniques of the sort? That is exactly what the media expects from you. So what this all comes down to is that the mass media, around the world, knowingly or unknowingly has, for decades, shaped, controlled and manipulated the human mind into unconsciously accepting everything that is presented. What implication does it have on the audience? Simply that they, without questioning or investigating or as much as logically thinking about the theory presented, readily accept it with a notion that since it’s on television, it must be true.

When and how have we allowed this this to happen? Doesn’t science tell us that theories require extensive study, research, test and application before they can be proven and accepted? By theories we do not just imply scientific theory either. “A theory is a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural, in contrast to well-established propositions that are regarded as reporting matters of actual fact.” Now, based on this definition alone, how much of what we see on television is actual fact? Do we take for granted that news agencies do extensive research into every piece of news they collect, taking into account millions of individualistic opinions that exist? That the conclusions arrived at have been properly examined by uncorrupted agencies of investigation? How can we be sure? Well, the simple answer in the context of the modern trends of news reporting is that: You don’t need to. We are constantly fed such ideals of blindly accepting what our 42″ modern day messiah of “truth”, tells us.

Another dark weapon that the media shamelessly uses is Extensive Stereotyping. Everything from a race, culture, tradition, religion, language, to a nation are stereotyped. The media can lead you to develop an opinion about practically anything on the planet with a few visual images. That is their power of manipulation.

Study the following images and visualize the things that come to your mind. I’m going to name the series of images as: The United States in a nutshell.

To a lay person who has no present opinion about the United States, the series of images represented above will certainly have an impact on the way he perceives the social structure of the US. He would see it as a culturally devoid society of homeless people, where extensive drug use and immoral practices are prevalent. He clearly hasn’t seen the other side of the story, simply because I chose not to show it to him! Have I not manipulated his thinking? Assuming the identical role of almost all media houses, I have forced my way of thinking and my perception of the United States over the minds of my audiences. The very audiences who are accustomed to receiving fashion, lifestyle tips and rely solely on me for all their recreational needs. This just makes my job so much more easier, doesn’t it? No longer do I have to prove myself because I know that no one is going to hold me accountable.

We have to understand that the media ultimately shows us what it wants to show us. Not necessarily what the actuality might be. The next time the media comes up with a ready made, tailored-for-you conclusion at your doorstep, you’d do well to delve into the subject, gather all the relevant information and then support or refute the said conclusion. The freedom that democracy provides you with exists for a reason. You are as free as you perceive yourself to be. Look at the wider picture, the broader cross section of the present media-moulded belief system and question your freedom.Without such an aspiration, you will remain an open box into which anything and everything could be stuffed.


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