When seeing is not believing?


Accompanying with the development of the whole society, mass media has witnessed its growth during the last few years, becoming the major mine of information for people. People nowadays, in addition to traditional media, have more available means of getting access to information such as television, radio, newspapers, and Internet,  especially. Thanks to the availability of the mass media, people have much more ways to approach the ideas, having chances to contemplate the issues from more aspects before making their own judgments. Unfortunately, it is not always the case, the growing power of the mass media, indeed, exerts significant impacts on people’s ideas, being able to orient people towards what the media wants people to think.

At the first level of power generated by mass media, let’s consider advertisements as a case in point. Many of people reading my post can proudly say that you do not believe in advertisements. However, when it comes to the concept of “being affected by advertisement”, I believe that almost every reader cannot say for sure that you are insulated from advertisements. Don’t be embarrassed to admit this fact because almost every consumer still makes their choice of purchase based on television commercials regardless of the growing effect coming from social media. Companies pay a huge amount of money investing in advertisement annually, to be more specific, they are willing to pay hundreds of US dollars for a 30-second commercials broadcasting during peak hour on television. By using tricky display, frequent broadcasting, and other advertising techniques, they have embedded the ideas of their products deeply in television viewers’ mind. When the viewers get to the supermarket, they have tendency to choose products which they have been familiar with its commercials. For instance, “Kangaroo” was just an ordinary supplier of water filter until it got broadcasted relentlessly during half-time break. The so-called commercial (“So-called” because it is considered as a disastrous advertisement product) really made many people annoyed; however, it has been successful in capturing people’s attention to its brand. More importantly, “Kangaroo” immediately comes up to customers’ mind when they think of buying water filter. Amazingly, there are now a crocodile of commercials emulating the success of this brand, making television chaos of disastrous advertising products.

At the second level of power, mass media can make people think the same as what people standing behind this power want. I do not want to mention “propaganda” and media as the effective tools of policy makers as this issue is quite sensitive and goes far beyond my own realm of knowledge. In the limited scope of this post, I want to mention the dominance of idea set by the mass media. Sometimes, I find it difficult to stand on my own feet to judge any issue from the stuff offered by the mass media. There are lots of information available on the mass media however not all of them are credible. There was time when I was interested in having debate online about some fuelling issues in the society but the more I get involved, the more I get hurt. These controversies seem to lead nowhere but make the situation much more obscure. Things provided by the media I have believed in for long tend to happen in the contrast way that I could not anticipate. This just reminds me of the recent case of “Vietnam’s got talent”, in which a mother was criticized severely by the public due to her undue behaviors. At first, on watching this show, I did not have any good opinion towards her impolite behavior in the public. Some days later, there was an article, in which this mother told about the truth and as is told by her, the program has been cut and edited at some points so that it would be much more entertaining and controversial, which made me lose my belief in the media. This issue has been a fueling topic among the young on the Internet, some shared the view with this mother, however, the others, which accounts for a larger proportion, made fierce comments, criticizing the mother. It is difficult to find anyone sensible enough to stand out of the herd, making his or her judgments. I myself feel that it is just a waste of time as well as something bad to make such a host of hostile comments aiming at this mother and her daughter. There is no point making such bitter comments on them, which, I believe, really do harm to the development of this little girl in the future. There may be some stories behind the scenes that we, the audiences, do not know about. It may be a trick of producer to increase the ratings of the program. It may be a tactic made by this mother to help her daughter gain popularity. The more people get involved in this controversy, the more successful their original intention becomes. Unwittingly, you, the audiences, get hooked in the trap designed by them, becoming a victim of the misleading media.

There comes a proverb “Seeing is believing”, unfortunately, it does not always prove to be right in the case of the mass media. Mass media, in which you believe or not, still exerts impacts on your decision. Mass media, equipped with many sophisticated technique, and accompanied by the herding behavior, has been used effectively by many stakeholders in the society to drive the public to their desired outcomes. People, despite the increasing exposure to more sources of information, still lost their direction at a mountain of information, failing to think on their own feet, being dominated by the information provided by the media.

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