Posts Tagged ‘Channels’

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.


A Reality Check

It seems like ages ago now, but looking back I still remember how we used to rack our brains in front of our television sets, discussing possible answers and playing the game along with the contestants on the show. It was the time when Quiz shows like Bournvita Quiz Contest, Kaun Banega Crorepati etc. ruled the primetime show slots on television networks. Derek O’ Brien was a household name and everyone would back their school team to land a spot on the show. But then TV channels apparently felt that these shows weren’t attracting “enough” audiences and TRP’s weren’t high enough, I guess, because of the lack of controversies, cheating, use of expletives, and skin showing. Hence came upon us a new era of  Reality Shows, which aimed at the larger pool of audiences and with the help of whom the TRP’s skyrocketed to heights channels never dreamed of.

Shows like Fear Factor, Iss Jungle Se Mujhe Bachaao, Sach Ka Saamna, Big Boss, Bingo, Swayamvars etc. are now the rage. While one involves performing daring stunts and eating protein rich insects, the other is about a bunch of  out-of-work celebrities all huddled up in a house while the audience spies on them through strategically placed cameras. Frankly, the audience’s intellect is taking a huge beating through these shows. Children now want to do the stunts depicted at home while the adults vote for their least favourite celeb to be kicked out of the show. Many dance shows and singing competitions have also cropped up in the name of reality shows. While they may be a useful platform for people to showcase their talents, one cannot ignore the fact that these shows are causing premature mental depression in children who cannot deal with the emotional pressures of being voted out or criticized by the judges. Then there are the so called adventure shows like Roadies. Two bald guys decide whether you’ve got the talent to participate in the show and once you’re selected there starts an unending saga of back-biting, abusing, and plotting against other participants; and yeah there are a few tasks here and there too, just for the sake of it. The worst of the lot though, are the Swayamvar shows. It started with Rakhi Sawant who apparently would marry the winner of the show after she decided which one of the men was the most “suitable” (read: rich) for her. Then it was the turn of Rahul Mahajan to pick from a bevy of girls who lined up for him. Ask the girls and they’d say that they would do anything to win, all because they represent the “Modern Generation” who weren’t held back by silly rules of society. Clearly their culture and family values mean nothing to them and they have probably lost the respect of millions watching the show. Which self respecting man/woman would participate in these shows? It just shows to what extent people would go to be seen on tv.  Granted there are a few shows which actually bother about nurturing talent and bringing it to the notice of the public, but most of the other shows are just a sham aimed at wasting peoples time and money and ultimately only serving the cause of the celebrities who participate in them.

The worst part though is that the general public are actually accepting these shows which only encourages them to continue playing with the audiences. No one seems to be bothered about the slowly falling standards of Indian television, and so long as the people lap up these shows, the channels will only be too happy to keep feeding us with such garbage.