TOPIC: ISSUE1 - “The media (books, film, music, television, for example) tend to create rather than reflect the values of a society.”
WORDS: 686 TIME: 0:45:00 DATE: 2006-9-12
People watch televisions and get access to other media almost every day; obviously, media is a well-developed means of entertainment, and at the same time, a resource of daily information. For very long time, people watch or listen to what they are interested in; however, just recently, specialists begin to question whether our tastes determine the programs we watch, or the programs we watch reform our tastes? In my opinion, media cannot create a brand new value methodology for people, because if people choose not to watch or listen to it, then it will do nothing at all. But on another hand, media do influence people’s judgments while contacting with them every day.
Media cannot control people’s thought, because people only accept programs that they are interested in. If you do not have any interest in a particular topic, you can simply switch to another channel or turn off the television or radio. If that is an editorial on the newspaper, then you will simply not buy this issue, and you may even refuse to buy other issues of the same newspaper, if it does make you very upset. The most simply and most common case of this point exists in the every family’s television time. As a common sense, every child loves entertainment, and they must enjoy the cartoon films very much. However, although accompanying with their beloved children every day to watch the children’s programs, it is hard to image that mid-aged fathers have the same interest in cartoon as their five-year-old sons. Generally, people’s minds only accept information fitting to their needs or tastes. And, in this aspect, media cannot totally control people’s thought.
While exposing all kinds of media every day, people’s minds do get some influence from it. This phenomenon exists when you watch or hear something on the media that you do not like very much, but you do not reject it either. Thus, you keep on accepting information passing over from that media to you, and at the same time you are influenced by it. Some times, even you do not like the suggestion by the media, and are likely to reject it; you may finally choose to take it, because it just shows up so many times on the media. And this is the “Repeating Stratagem” that is used by almost every advertising company. They put up advertisements on every television station and every newspaper front page, and other media that you access every day. Prospective customers may not likely to buy the product at first, however, as they watch the finely decorated pages every day, they will end up with favor feeling about advertised goods. Thus, people are influenced, more or less, a little by their daily accessed media.
Media can influence people’s minds but not totally reform them. However, if the society does not have a variety of media services, and all citizens watch the same face and listen to the same voice every day, then the situation may become totally different. In this case, spirit control may be possible for the governing class. You can avoid being influenced by unpleasant information by switching to another channel or turning off the receiver; however, how about you have no other choice except this program? Although it may be hard to image, in some backward African and Mid-Asian countries, media are firmly controlled by the government and people have no other choice expect accepting the concepts imposed by the governing authority. In fact, the same case also existed in the western world some time before. When Europe was undergoing the disorder in 1940s, Nazi’s broadcasting stations successfully controlled people’s minds. Thus, we must pay more attention to our society’s media freedom, and avoid the disaster to recur in our modernized world.
Finally, media do not make decisions for people; they only influence them by putting up so much information day and night. Within a democratic society, people have freedom to choose what they like and deny what they dislike; thus, they are not likely to be totally controlled by media as the statement above suggested.