Media communication is full of contradictions, nevertheless one cannot deny the top part it takes on in social life, part which has kept and will maintain steadily its importance along time. In this essay, I will examine the value and the impact of mass media in contemporary culture, delivering both their negative and positive effects, in terms of the functions they play. I am going to start by showing the benefits of the educational and interpretative functions (which are crucial in a contemporary society dependant on mass media for information), while also mentioning their negative effects, by referring to the manipulation of general public view and the using of mass media as a medium of propaganda. I will continue by discussing the existence of infotainment and its own benefits, but also the educative role of media, nevertheless without ignoring the negative aspects which come with access to information for a society segment which does not have the ability to select and process it. I'll not miss the chance of talking about the social binder (between people or civilizations) function, and also about the tendency of the population of aligning to view streams; I will close by presenting some limiting factors for the media power.
Most people get prepared through press and television set, these channels gratifying, by the info they provide, a fundamental need of the modern man - information. Furthermore, by their dimensions, mass media help in spreading the info and boost the speed where a message is relayed. The constant worldwide information circulation helps individuals find the latest news which may effect their decisions, organize their businesses, help them know which areas are or will be damaged by natural disasters or conflicts in order to avoid them and so on. Still, many times, the mass media offer more than information. By means of media, one can effect, orient and immediate public opinion, passions and motivations, consciences, even beyond one's own will. Media may lead even unto the devastation of the discernment and the creation associated with an apathy, it may eliminate the will to comprehend and take action. American media theorists, Lazarsfeld and Merton (1948), have argued that people may be guilty of paying such close focus on the info with that your media bombard us, thus addressing mistake knowing about social issues with doing something about them. They called this dilemma the "narcotizing dysfunction", linking it to the communal consequences of media. Individuals replace fact with a surrogate of fact. Furthermore, people can be misinformed through media. Many times, we read untrue articles in newspapers and journals, whether these articles are about what is happening around the world or around important persons in public life. The multimedia build but also damage reputations, which happens the majority of the days in politics. An example, regarding to Layborn (2002), are the scandals encompassing the Secretary of Express for Conflict, John Profumo (1963) and the Liberal Party head Jeremy Thorpe (1970s). Politicians are provided, "launched" to the public with the same techniques used in launching a new brand of toothpaste or soap. Pop celebrities, as a class, will be the creation of multimedia. Remaining in the area of negative aspects, I'm also able to include the proven fact that media create cognitive, affective and behavioural addictions. These addictions lead to a certain level of defiance which aggravates the cognitive gulf. Those who find themselves informed are more and more enlightened and those who are misinformed remain misinformed.
As to the interpretative function, this is relatively related to the informative role, since it supposes the popularity of the info by the individual without processing it through one's own reason. The material of communications are generated by the public's needs, therefore the information will be refined enough to fulfill these needs. Information consumers may also receive direct assist in interpreting some occurrences by the means of editorials or commentary in papers and magazines. Thus, the audience or audience not only received the information in the state of hawaii it was conceived, they are also given the manner in which they have to regard and recognize that information. The press depends on the authority of the written expression, while television relies upon the fact that images appear real and the resident tends to say, almost all of the times "I've seen it with my own eyes", not realizing they have actually only seen what others sought those to see.
The media stop to be a news organ and become a musical instrument of propaganda. In all societies and in whoever's service it might be, propaganda is designed to form certain attitudes and impose communal stereotypes, it tends to impose conditions on the individual, by creating automate mechanisms with the goal of handling and manipulating behavior or modern culture (voting for a certain politics get together, purchasing certain goods, etc). Great leaders of most times have used manipulation techniques, some of them to keep their ability, others to regulate inhabitants. Even Napoleon acquired paid attention to the means of information at that time, which have offered him advantages before his enemies. His statements continued to be famous: "Four hostile newspaper publishers will be more to be feared when compared to a thousand bayonets". World Conflict I is known as to own been a propagandist challenge between the British and the Germans and that the American audience was the prospective of text messages in pamphlets, posters and other means of communication. During World Warfare II, the Nazi have developed a more elaborate propaganda system in order to obtain routine support both in Germany and abroad. It is one of the convictions of Advertising Zoom lens that "the corporate media constitute a propaganda system for elite pursuits" (Edwards and Cromwell, 2006). Those who have high interpersonal positions, govern or lead large companies have control on the mass media (or even bought it, as it is the circumstance for the Italian prime-minister Berlusconi), with them to manipulate human population with the purpose of reaching their own hobbies. The renowned teacher Chomsky (2003) implements "The Propaganda Model" regarding the Iraq conflict as well. Large firms, among which Haliburton or Uk Petroleum, have used the media to be able to internationally pass on false information on Saddam Hussein, such as him producing mass destruction weapons and assisting terrorism, information which later became untrue. The population, being worried by the artificially created actuality, has eventually became a member of in, by sustaining the battle in Iraq and, indirectly, the passions of the fantastic moguls. New York Times discovered (1st Dec, 2005) that the USA had used black propaganda by paying Iraqi journalists to translate and distribute in local newspapers articles written in the US by a pr company financed by the Pentagon. Furthermore, after investigations were lead, false journalists providing news articled to the BBC were uncovered. Incorrect information was transmit by television, as the "journalists" were secretly working for organizations suffered by the Uk Ministry of Defence in a propaganda procedure (Media Lens, 2005).
As to its entertainment function, the mass media, especially television, offer the cheapest & most accessible means of entertainment, compared to participating concerts and shows. A few momemts of one's favourite show can relax, make one your investment hard time they go through. The internet is a good mean of entertainment through its large number of online flash games, music, the likelihood of interactive communication with friends. Among the analysts of the modern-day phenomenon of media, Claude-Jean Bertrand (2000), notes that the majority of consumers seek out entertainment in the media. Thus, most means of marketing communications provide it, even magazines. This function takes on a particularly important part in today's culture, even more that this combines extremely efficiently with the others. Vicky Hay (1990) considers that the task of infotainment development in television, with its various varieties and media platforms (talk-shows, contests, video games, interactive transmissions, etc) represent the main cause of cultivating this trend in the written press as well. The second cause is money, respectively within an industry such as the mass media one, which runs over a competitive market, where it is focused on maintaining/gaining/regaining a larger audience section, which brings in itself publicity, money that is. But gleam negative aspect in the entertainment function of media, which is the chance of relaying obscene or negative information through music or violent films, or by (even involuntarily) creating fake, "bad" models for the general public which is subjected, but has no ability to choose or process information, such as children.
The audiovisual route continuously dimensions the knowledge world of the receivers, by influencing and inducing them beliefs, conceptions, convictions, stereotypes, etc. That is why the educative role that the marketing have in culture comes with an importance that should not be underestimated; the top spectrum of TV stations, from the most various domains, constitutes an important source of broadening one's knowledge horizon. Also, television can be considered a culture broadcaster, thus concerts/theatre plays gathering more viewers than spectators. Documentaries, homage evocations of personalities, flashbacks have significantly more power than catalogs do in rejuvenating the public's awareness on a personality or even on record, generally. But, as a poor effect of the educative function, we must mention that tv, as a time devourer, has taken a real "reading crisis", television shows get together the ethnical needs of the mankind too rushed to be able to concentrate on traditional means. Also, in countries with a lower life expectancy cinematographic production, flooding the market with overseas commercial productions can lead to the ethnical "denationalization" of the audience. Studies lead by American psychologists about the impact of American serial films with junior as their main audience point out that 45% of young adults condition and complete their sexual knowledge predicated on these videos and also learn how to communicate with their parents from them. (Vehicle Evra, J. , 1990) The negative part of this aspect is that, by having access to adult subject matter, children lose the naivety and innocence specific to their age and are a lot more prone to yielding to various temptations (from smoking and drugs to delinquencies).
Live broadcasting of a meeting makes the last mentioned dilate, and general public (countrywide or international) judgment becomes a resonance package where in fact the echoes of the event ensure its amplification. Thus, tv set gets the role of ensuring the social bond in individualist mass culture (anybody being able to connect when and how they want in your own home, having the ability to freely take part, in their level of privacy, in a fundamentally collective activity). Thus, mass media may create a cultural solidarity mechanism in case there is natural disasters or special personal situation which requires help from the other associates of society.
By analyzing the effects of media, one can specify the term of consonance as aligning to judgment channels. The Spiral of Silence ("Schweigespirale") theory details this phenomenon starting from the dependence of specific view on the dominating opinion portrayed by the media. Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann (1993) synthesises this theory the following: population threatens the deviant with isolation, folks are more frightened of isolation than of error, individuals measure the favourable or unfavourable environment of their own judgment, evaluation causes taking an frame of mind (expressing one's opinion or keeping one's ideas secret). Individuals who share the dominant perspective easily share it, while individuals who do not reveal this thoughts and opinions enclose themselves alone, for concern with isolation. Thus, open public opinion represents, from this perspective, the opinion that may be expressed publicly without the chance of isolation.
A secondary function of mass media, that of reinforcing communal norms, is achieved through the actual fact that tv set exposes any deviation from these norms to the judgment of public thoughts and opinions. Regarding to DeFleur (1989), the average person behaviour is guided by one's understanding on social norms. Thus, by the means of demonstration, underscoring and selection, television reinforces the viewer's thoughts on these social norms. Television also has an enormous impact in imposing fashion and the female or masculine beauty type.
One of the occasions which brought glory to the mass media is the Watergate Process, journalists being the ones who induced the resignation of the American leader Nixon on August 8th, 1974, thus gaining the popularity of "fourth ability in the state of hawaii". The fatality of princess Diana has again given tv set the opportunity of demonstrating its advantages in finding general population interest and changing an event into a global tragedy. Still, there are limits to the power the media has, opponent forces - whether political, institutional, or representing the private business environment - which, at their convert, manipulate the info the press offers. Also, the commercial pressure of income and competition, as well as immediate pressure from politics corporations or even people's scepticism limit the power of media.
What are the conclusions that can be attracted from these aspects we have presented? The media are a double-edged tool. On the one hand, they form and on the other they deform. Inside a post-industrial world where information reaches the same value as capital or resources, using means of information and communication such as mass media becomes a necessity. Nevertheless, I consider that the media are both a good image and a poor image originator, a source of information and a tool of propaganda, a sine qua non of society.