“If it Bleeds it Leads”
Nowadays the media have transformed its main mission of reporting news that actually happened in an accurate and objective way into covering stirring and controversial issues as news stories due to capitalistic motives. Moreover, today’s media took the motto “If it bleeds it leads” as a criteria to report any story. The aim of following this motto was to achieve high viewership rates and as a result gain more advertisers which will ultimately increase the profits. However, this motto changed the media from reporting facts into reporting sensational-fearful news. Thus, this paper will demonstrate the effects of sensational news, and how the media plays on the cultivation theory using sensationalism to increase viewers.
Sensational journalism and its effect
First of all, what is sensational journalism or media sensationalism and what are its potential effects?
According to Mehrotra (2011), media sensationalism is defined as “style of reporting news to public which involves use of fear, anger, excitement and crude thrill undertaken by the media to increase the viewership, ratings and lastly profits”. Moreover, this technique is used for two reasons: first to increase the rate of the viewers, and the second is to persuade the viewer that the solution for the suggested fear will be demonstrated in the news story. (Serani, 2011) .Additionally, the key to the success of sensational based news is in presenting the news in a sensational - fearful anecdote format instead of scientific facts. Thus, the media is promoting inaccurate news as the reports are aired without fact checking and based on sensationalism rather than on accurate facts. Hence, this style of reporting inaccurate news has hazardous effects on the audience in which it leads to setting off the viewer’s feeling of hopelessness and helplessness experiences which ultimately leads to depression (Serani, 2011). For example, in the case of the 11 Lebanese pilgrims kidnapped in Syria back in May. Their parents were waiting anxiousely to anything aout their children when all of a sudden “ an unconfirmed report of the pilgrims’ deaths as a result of military strikes in Azaz near the Syrian city of Aleppo left many families mourning until another unconfirmed report refuted their deaths. Almost all local media outlets were reporting unverified information on the fate of the pilgrims in Syria, with no official to confirm any of the accounts. Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah also criticized the media’s attitude in a speech Thursday saying that the “The attitude of some reporters was tragic and disastrous” (Meguerditchian, 2012). Thus , such sensational coverage of sensitive cases lead to agitation whereas media has social responsibility during crisis time to ignore any rumor that is unconfirmed in order to decrease the stress and agitation rather than increase it .
Relation between Cultivation theory and sensational Media
Secondly, we are bombarded on a...