Is the media just feeding what the people want to hear/read for ratings?
Media is very powerful in that it can shape opinions. Which is which then, is the media just satisfying what the people want to hear or they are the ones shaping the opinions based on what they think will give them favorable rating?
I love this question, in fact the series 'The Newsroom' answers this, I recommend you watch it. However , my personal answer is yes, mostly the media write for the ratings and approval of the masses. There are some exceptions but they are becoming increasingly rare in this world where numbers and stats are everything.
Newspapers and magazines have always written what the people wanted to hear or read. Unfortunately, we have a population that is more interested in celebrities than world leaders and in the latest fashion than world problems.
The mainstream media does cover those things. However, how many people get up on Sunday morning to watch all the news shows. How many people read the Sunday comics before reading the editorial page. If network news do not give the public what it wants, i.e., those that buy the sponsor products, there will be no network news.
The same is true for newspapers. In some cases there are local stations and papers that stick to the hard news and leave the fluff for the networks, grocery rack magazines and tabloids.
News organizations have to make money. They make money from advertising (a small amount from subscriptions) and the advertisers make money from the people who watch the news program. If the Vietnam war was occurring today and thank God it isn't, I do not think you would see it on the news every night in the detail that we saw in the 1960s and 1970s. There are so many options out there for news and entertainment, that you have to cave in to masses if you want to stay in the game. When I was a kid we had ABC, NBC and CBS. Look at what we have to day. Besides those three we have MSNBC, Fox, CNN, BBC, and I forget the rest. News coverage is a calling, it is also a business. To stay in business, you have to present a news package that the advertisers like so they will pay those high rates. It is not a good situation, but unfortunately, that is the reality we are facing today.
The media feeds us what it wants us to know and what it wants us to think we need. There will always be "bad news" something horrible, something that will make us gasp. Eventually we get numb to it or the bar of horror has to be raised. There is always that one tiny news piece at the end; that is some how suppose to make you feel better. However, in the end, the media can put pressure on us making us believe we need more to be happy, that the world is a horrible place and that everywhere we go there is danger. But I think there are many people in the world; who have everything they need but just don't see it. Instead they are left with an emptiness that doesn't need to be there. There are many people in the world right now doing great things; acting in a way that is helping others, along with many random acts of kindness. The media doesn't show enough of that.
As an old reporter I often heard the good news argument. People are suppose to do good things. When people do bad things or wrong things that is news. When people do great things that is news. Everything cannot be reported. Often, people do not care.
I think 90% of the time they do tell you what you want to hear just so that they can keep you. I love it how in news if they have a real juicy news that everyone wants to hear they make you wait almost to the end to tell you. That way you would have already seen all the other stuff.
The media is feeding peoples' fears in order to gain their attention.
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