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Effects of Media Messaging in Society

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Submitted By JamieLynn75
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The invention of the printing press by Gutenberg in 1450 marked the beginning of what was to become a revolution of knowledge, information, and power around the world. The Church used the press for exactly these reasons, printing thousands of Indulgences to sinners, in an effort no doubt to increase profits, and attendance. Now, nearly 600 years later-the mass media has honed the power of this technology, and become more pervasive than anything humanity has ever encountered. Looking at antiwar movements over the last 60 years, the media has been used to influence the mentality of millions in two very dichotomous ways. Meaning, the media has helped shape public opinion to be either for or against these movements depending on the pressures and demands of the times. Traditionally, print media industry has treated antiwar protestors as if they were disobedient children. In movies such as Across the Universe, protestors are portrayed as young hippies who do not fully understand the rationale and benefits behind war. Often the media presents us with one-sided information that is meant to persuade us to accept a message that we are not familiar. In the case of antiwar protests back in the Vietnam Era, the media while covering the issue equally with government/military administration, often only covered the more colorful aspects of the antiwar movement. While articles have been published about the tendency of the media during this time to be in favor of the antiwar sentiment, many scholars believe that print media in particular impacted the success of the movement. Antiwar movements are often conceived by the media as a form of dissent, and are further admonished by the government, and labeled as unpatriotic. While the Antiwar movement of the 1960s was ultimately extremely Mass Media Messages 3 successful, the media scrupulously covered the issue printing stories about the unruly crowds, off-the-wall viewpoints, and other irrelevant such details. Rarely was the media focused on the message of the movement, or the fact that hundreds of organizations, and other renowned groups were involved. In Today’s’ age, antiwar protestors are treated with more respect, as demystification has allowed people to be a part of many different political viewpoints and interests without fear of being out-cased. The print media has helped drive improvements and public awareness to antiwar protestors by featuring celebrities and high profile persons. With high profile personalities taking a more active political role, the message of peace is becoming more wide spread, and acceptable. Print media antiwar coverage following the Vietnam era has become increasingly more liberal. Antiwar protestors want the public to become aware of exactly why the war is taking place and alternate ways to solve the war's problems. The article, "Against Capitalist War, Against Capitalist Peace conveys how both sides, pro-war and antiwar, will have their negative aspects, but only one side will be pro-life. I think that the role of print media is the same now as it was in the past because it has always been to inform and persuade people to be for or against the war. Demystification has allowed writers and individuals to target more specific issues relating to the antiwar movement. While print media is the cornerstone of all mass media, Web 2.0 has gained immense popularity over the last decade. RSS news feeds constantly update on web browser menus, newspapers are now available electronically (and cost-free), and social networking outlets have allowed for antiwar movements to mobilize on a scale never before seen. The impact of these digital media outlets while difficult to quantify, simply by Mass Media Messages 4 their nature must influence the target audiences even more powerfully than print-media by being easily accessible, available twenty-four hours seven days a week, and easily shared through email. Media uses information to brief, persuade, and entertain the world masses. However, most people are relatively uninformed with regards to general issues, and when these people are presented with information that only represents one side of the argument/issue/etc. their beliefs on that issue are molded and transformed. All forms of media offer the information with the assumption that the audience is well informed on an issue, however, rarely offers both sides of the argument. The voice that controls the media controls how topics are perceived. Before digital technology, relied people only on print media for news; they were influenced by the information and eventually began accepting it as gospel. In all forms of media: Print, radio, TV, and digital, a limited number of viewpoints are offered, usually with one viewpoint dominating another. The media is able to shape public belief through a system of what could be called manipulation. TV is the most pervasive media that we have, it is extremely influential and becomes the norm, and it provides a standard. The media, whether intentionally or not, uses fundamental psychological principles to influence and persuade its audiences to believe, think, and behave in particular ways. Media sometimes alters stereotypes when a several media outlets report on a single perception of an event. During the Vietnam War, antiwar protestors were alienated as anti-troop; one account documents protestors spitting on returning G.I.s (Beamish). This article exemplifies print media creating a stereotype by ignoring the opposite viewpoint. This stereotype was later nullified when actual protestors commented on their support of the troops. A news-article released interviewing the antiwar protestors about Mass Media Messages 5 their ideas is an example of media transforming a stereotype. Informed writing, often times by subject matter experts, or by those who are in the group under media scrutiny, offer insight into the true values and beliefs from the other side. After all, there are heroes on both sides. The mass media has played a large role in keeping the public informed on the issue of antiwar protestors and almost any news about the war. In the past, print media was the majority, with limited things that could be broadcast over the radio or even television. These medias were limited with space for stories and were thought to contain only the most valuable information and news. These newspapers often embellished an occurrence or wrote in a way that was controversial to the time increase sales, similar to what the media does today. The tactic has a direct influence on how society perceived different events. The article, Something is stirring among the people. Energy and organization are far in advance of the 1960s: this may well be bigger than the anti-Vietnam war protests, writer John Pilger describes a rising tide of activism that is building up in Italy (Pilger, 2002). Pilgers use of adjectives in the piece reveals his disgust for the unhappy protestors and suggests that they join the military. This type of article written today would likely be posted on a discussion board with several replies voicing disagreement. It seems like any media that can be judged, will be judged. The article, Anti-War Protest Draws Thousands in DC, written by Sara Powell, offers a more contemporary view of antiwar protestors. Her reporting describes a peaceful gathering with music, speeches, and good vibes (Powell, 2002). It is this type of media attention that illustrates antiwar protestors for what they really are: normal people who advocate peace. Powell is superb at describing the professionalism displayed at Mass Media Messages 6 this rally. Protestors have been often portrayed in the media as radicals and hippies. This article seeks to show a more sophisticated activist who wants to fight for a cause with class. The use of digital technology today has accustomed a society to instant information. In addition to this information, anyone with mobile access is able to relay comments on almost any topic. This opinion style of information is shaping the way humans send and receive information by letting us as the audience respond with or without our approval. In the past, populations took the information they were given. As communication technologies increase, the audience will become more active in deciding the information they will receive and trust.

References: Covering Dissent: The Media and the Anti-Vietnam War Movement. Contributors: Melvin Small - author. Publisher: Rutgers University Press. Place of Publication: New Brunswick, NJ. Publication Year: 1994. The Media of Mass Communication, Ninth Edition, by John C. Vivian. Published by Allyn & Bacon. Copyright 2009 by Pearson Education, Inc. Pilger, J. (2002). Something is stirring among the people. Energy and organization are far in advance of the 1960s: this may well be bigger than the anti-Vietnam war Mass Media Messages protests. New Statesman, 131(4612), 11. Retrieved from MasterFILE Premier database. Powell, S. (2002). Anti-War Protest Draws Thousands in DC. Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, 21(9), 85. Retrieved from MasterFILE Premier database.…...

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