FRANCESCO VIOLA III
In high school English classes, the impact of the mainstream media on society is bound to come up in conversation eventually. The topic arises in classes such as English II and AP Language class. Regardless, the common reaction from the student body towards the media is positive. In fact, in a poll done by GALLUP politics, 55 percent of Americans distrust the mass media.
Complaints range from the media setting standards to high for women, to covering news stories that don’t seem important. Some say the media is trying to corrupt the masses because it is biased or because it is misleading.
A voice in favor of the media is rarely heard, and I can understand why that is. I certainly dislike most of the programing and reports that become popular in the media. However, the thing I can never understand is why the majority of people dislike the media when they are the reason the media is the way it is.
Marketing executives and producers don’t advertise, promote and work on content that is drawing low ratings. That would simply be bad business for privately owned companies.
So if a news story is being covered in the prime time, it’s because people are watching and are paying attention. If high quality clothing is being advertised during a prime-time slot on a popular tv show, then that means enough people are buying it so they can afford that slot.
What this means is that the media isn’t a corrupt entity that is separate from the people. The media doesn’t set high standards on women. The media is simply a reaction to what the people want.
For example, if people were interested in stories on the crisis in Ukraine, and read articles about the crisis in Ukraine then the mass media would cover the crisis in Ukraine. But because that type of new has proven to get poor ratings, it doesn’t get covered. Instead, stories with high ratings, such as Miley Cyrus twerking get coverage. When Fox News covered the crisis in Ukraine, it got 1 million views, according to tvbythenumbers.com. But when Miley Cyrus was twerking at the Video Media Awards, it got 10 million views.
Another example of this is the rise and fall of the “Harlem Shake”. The phenomenon was centered around videos of people doing comedy sketches with an part of the song “Harlem Shake” playing in the background. The “Harlem Shake” became more popular due to the social media website, Youtube, which caught the attention of many news and entertainment organizations. After the popularity dwindled for the dance, the media coincided with the change and stopped talking about the trend.
Despite all of this, it is understandable why the masses think the media is a separate entity from the people. Before the information age, it was much harder for executives and producers to gauge what the people wanted because there was no internet to poll people on or social media trends to analyze.
In our modern day and age, there is no excuse. People need to stop blaming the mass media for poor quality entertainment and unsatisfactory journalism.
If you don’t like a show like “Honey Boo Boo”, then the only way to get rid of it is to not watch it. Even if you watch it just to make fun of it, producers and executives won’t care. If you want the media to represent who you feel you are, then all you need to do is stop paying attention to what you dislike.
The mass media can be whatever you want it to be. As the audience, you have the power to control where the media is going and it’s tendencies. All of the power is in the hands of the people.