Part 2 : Role and power of Media
Culture and information
The media are basically done for disseminate information and culture. They are two different notions. Culture is a general term who designs the personal knowledge you get to the contact of different reading, talking, images and sounds. Information is the element in the base of the culture.
Cultivate and inform yourself give the power to create a critical thinking about the informations we give to you. It permits you to understand your environment, to have benchmarks to better evolve inside. It also permit you to defend you against harmful influences getting points of comparison for you to know what is acceptable and what is not. That’s finally you to evolve in your mentality and to have the real choices of your opinion knowing there is a lot of different point of views.
The culture and information also create link between people thanks to common benchmarks and knowledge. It permits people to become enlightened citizens less sensitive to manipulation, and create and engagement feeling. Indeed to have an idea of what is society is the first step to be actor of this society, to participate to it and to not simply undergoes it.
The main risk with large diffusion media are to be at the origin of gossips, fake news and misunderstanding. In here we put two example of the power that media can have to give information that are not true and how people react to that.
Examples : -In 1938, Orson Welles broadcast his radio show the War of the Worlds. This show is a story about the Earth’s invasion by a mysterious alien race. The story was really realistic and some people in the USA thought this was not a show but the real news on the radio and panicked. There is a controversy about the importance of the panic wave but the fact that some people believed in this fake information show us that the media can also be a source of confusion when people think that fiction is reality.
-In 2006, the Belgian channel RTBF broadcast a false documentary called Bye Bye Belgium. The documentary is a fiction about what would happen if the two regions of Belgium decide to become independent. This documentary is constructed like real TV news and presented by the most famous TV presenter in Belgium : François de Brigode. That was really realistic and confuse a lot of people despite the clues who show that it is a fiction. The goal of this documentary is to create a debate and is voluntary confusing. A lot of people believed that it was a real TV news because of the codes used to realized the documentary and because the presenter was a credible personality. This example proof another thing, that it can be really easy to fake informations.
This two examples are now related to a current term : fake news. The fake news are simply fake information told by a media. We will explain their goal in the next part.
Media are a way to spread ideas and so ideology. They are the main way to communicate about politics and societal subjects and the main way to influence public opinion. It is related to editorial line, the members of the media choose which are the corresponding positions to the editorial line, which subject they want to promote, which people they want to let talk.
The media can be a way to share values and positions also it can be a way to propaganda.
Basically, all the communication elements who had for goal to promote an ideology (any kind of ideology) are propaganda. But the term is more often used in a pejorative way to talk about discourses in order to control minds or promote radical ideologies.
What characterizes propaganda it is that is not an objective discourse,it’s always one-way. It can be for justified political actions or to force a population to adopt a behavior. In case of radical ideologies propaganda can drive to violent behaviors.
Examples: – In 1994, while the Rwandese genocide, The genocidaires used to spread hate messages about the Hutu people. They started by setting up a climate of hatred and then directly asking their listeners to go and massacre the Hutus.
-The IIIrd Reich had a ministry of the propaganda. The minister Joseph Goebbels, used and controlled all the communication channels to promote the Nazi ideology and to acquire people to his cause. All the medias first, but also the art like Cinema, that he used to glorify war heroes. This kind of practices are used to create patriotic feelings and present a different reality.
Another role of the media in our society is to sell products, to promote brand and companies.
Media are the main factor of consumption through advertising.
Indeed a lot of media win money selling space for advertising to companies and live only with this income.
An easy definition of the overconsumption can be : “the action or fact of consuming something to excess”
In the domain of the Media, the notion of overconsumption must be linked with the notion of the Advertising and Publicity. The Media industry (newspaper, online newspaper, radio, TV,…) have a financial system based on the advertising.
Indeed for live, theses companies sell to other companies space where they can advertise. The result is that the time of advertisement that people are faced with increase everywhere and the marketing win a place more and more important in the Media.
Ex : How to create a newscast ?
1 – Talk about a anecdote, usually a bad one, who create the feeling of fear and scare.
2-Talk about a fact in another country, a bad one one, who create to the viewer the feeling “is really worse elsewhere”
3- Give the “medication” for the viewer for help them to accept : Advertising time. Theses advertising arrive to the viewer as the solution : the solution to be happy, the solution to have pleasure, the solution to accept the world as it is and not try to change it.
An interesting fact about the Newscast is the evolution of the Audience of the Young (12/25). Since 20 years, the part of the young in the Audience of this kind of emission is driving down. Otherwise, the audience part of the people aged by more than 60 is increasing a lot.