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Influence of Media to Society

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Essay title: Influence of Media to Society

The Influence of Media to Society

Media, the name alone to everyone seems all too familiar, however the meaning and purpose of the word is understood differently amongst people. For ages media has been a key source for knowing what is happening throughout the world. As time evolved the speed in which media information becomes available has increased dramatically, but the quality of media is one to question. In Walter Lippman’s “The World Outside and the Pictures in Our Heads,” he discusses the changes in media, as well as providing in his terms the role media play’s and the role media needs to play in order to function properly. The writer argues that what people think and what the real environment around them is tends to be two different pictures. Thus, the writer provides his conclusion to solving this problem. In this essay I will argue that even through Lippman’s conclusion, a solid solution to the problem media plays will still obtainable.

Lippman begins his article by referencing to earlier times in history when information wasn’t shared at a rapid pace. At this point he notes the importance the mind played in creating the events that happened in the world. Without information being rapidly supplied to someone, it was up to one to in turn “believe” what they want to be the true picture. From this Lippman turns to another key in media, the symbolism of public opinion, in which he notes is easily manipulated during insecure times in the world, such as war. During such times as war, the symbols become subject to “check, comparison, and argument.” With this come his three key factors analyzing public opinion, the scene of action, the human reaction to the scene, and the response to the scene imagined. Through providing an example of a misinterpreted scenario of a wartime event, we are able to understand the consequences and large effects that can come with wrong information. Drawing up a problem media brings by inventing ways to see things the naked eye is unable to see, hearing what no one can hear, and creating pictures in ones head that are unreachable. In turn creating a “trustworthy” picture in ones head of an environment that is out of their reach. He goes on to distinguish the difference between public affairs and public opinion; public affairs being the information in which involves others that we in turn find interest in, and public opinion being the images in our heads that we create from the public affairs. The images in turn can be misinterpreted by factors such as artificial censorship, the limitations of social contact, the comparatively meager time available in each day for paying attention to public affairs, the distortion arising because events have to be compressed into very short messages, the difficulty of making a small vocabulary express a complicated world, and finally the fear of facing those facts which would seem to threaten the established routine of men’s lives. From here he develops his conclusion of what must happen in order for media to function properly, which he states public opinions must be organized for the press if they are to be sound, not by the press as it is today.

I strongly agree with Lippman in the argument that the mind played and continues to play an enormous role in public opinion. However, I believe the importance of the role the mind plays is in turn the cause of all dilemmas. This is because there is no mind that is identical, and with that there are always many different views or perspectives on any given issue. Through this, many building issues occur, especially in drastic or chaotic situations. Though media plays an enormous role on providing people with this picture they imagine, it is our minds that in turn manipulate these images to depict what we want to see, hear, or believe. As Lippman states the effects media has on us, especially globally, when we are unable to witness events or occurrences for ourselves is key.

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