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Television And Media Effect On The Public

4832 words - 19 pages

Television is a vital source from which most Americans receive information. News and media delegates on television have abused theirs powers over society through the airing of appealing news shows that misinform the public. Through literary research and experimentation, it has been proven that people's perception of reality has been altered by the information they receive from such programs. Manipulation, misinterpretation, word arrangement, picture placement and timing are all factors and tricks that play a major role in the case. Research, experimentation, and actual media coverage has pinpointed actual methods used for deceptive advertising. Television influences society in many ways. People are easily swayed to accept a belief that they may not normally have unless expressed on television, since many people think that everything they hear on television is true. This, however, is not always the case. It has been observed that over the past twenty to thirty years, normal social behavior, even actual life roles of men and women and media, regulatory policies have all been altered (Browne 1998). Media has changed with time, along with quality and respectability. Many Americans receive and accept false information that is merely used as an attention grabber that better the show's ratings and popularity. Many magazines and Journal reviews have periodically discussed the "muckraking" that many tabloid shows rely on to draw in their viewers. This involves sensationalizing a story to make it more interesting, therefore increasing the interest of the audience. "Along the way, all sorts of scandalous substance and goofy tricks appear, but not much mystery in the logic," (Garnson 1997). People often know that these shows aim to deceive them, but still accept the information as truth. Many times, people have strong opinions on certain topics. Yet, when they are exposed to the other side of the argument, they may be likely to agree with the opposite view. As Leon Festinger said, "If I chose to do it (or say it), I must believe in it," (Myers 1997). This is an example of Festinger's cognitive dissonance theory, which pertains to acting contrary to our beliefs. Television influences many people to change their original beliefs. It has the viewers think that the majority of other people hold the contrary idea. Once these views are presented, people have the option to hold strong to their beliefs or conform to what they feel the rest of society believes. Though conforming is not necessarily bad, it can confuse people and therefore allow them to believe false ideas. When someone is under an informational social influence and is willing to change their views, the fine line between the truth and fiction is clouded. It is; however, important to keep an open mind and not let any personal prejudices influence a decision on an important topic. Though agreeing with an idea simply to be accepted by others in society is questionable. Joseph Joybert, an essayist from the...

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