Media and Politics
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the relationship between media and politics. This concept pops up in basically all of my classes (except math because how?) and prompted me to think about the way in which social media and news sources present information and how I interpret this information. With how quickly media is changing and expanding, it is more important than ever to be aware of the content we are consuming and the way it affects us.
The most important thing to realize about political media is how sensationalized it all is. Although most stories start out with a decent amount of truth, headlines are often over-stated to grab the attention of readers. These headlines are dangerous because many of us don’t take the time to read the entire article and base our views off the headlines, which may not be completely accurate.
Most of the popular media is filled with stories about things that are interesting to read about. This totally makes sense, however, it is also important for the public to be aware of some of the things going on in our world that aren’t as exciting. Media tend to cover drama, scandals, and violence instead of things like policy and legislation simply because those topics aren’t as intriguing. Make sure you recognize this the next time you are scrolling through your news page.
Despite these things, it’s important to recognize that media doesn’t actually alter our beliefs that much. We may think that reading different sources helps to expand our beliefs and understand different sides of an issue. However, media actually just reinforces our existing beliefs, no matter what source you are reading from. Stories that hold the same bias as us positively reinforce our beliefs while stories that hold different views than we do push us further to our original point of view. While this isn’t necessarily bad, it’s something to keep in mind.
Media is all about influencing us and what stories we focus on. Gathering soundbites and headlines and judging events based on those are not the way to gather information. Keep in mind that different sources will be telling completely different stories based on their points of view. Because of this, look at every source with a critical lens. This should help you better navigate the crazy world that is political media.