Essay by sflam January 2006

download word file, 2 pages 0.0

Downloaded 11 times

This message has been brought to you by..." Millions of Americans hear this commercial announcement emanating from their televisions each day, yet few consider the ramifications of the words. If granted five minutes of national airtime, I would urge the American public to explore the implications of the commercialization of the media. Indeed, I would encourage individuals to research and question issues rather than relying primarily on television and other mass media for information.

Many Americans erroneously believe that the presence of the First Amendment ensures complete freedom of the press. They consider the news media to arise from the people with the intent of serving the people. In modern times, however, money has emerged as a new way of controlling information. Advertisers, network owners and stockholders all function to restrict free speech. A commercial message involves stakeholders, with vested interests, providing essential financial backing to the media conglomerate.

For example, a network or newspaper owner with a stake in or ties to a large industry may de-emphasize or omit information damaging to the industry.

Issues spanning the environment, war, politics, business, education, and religion all feature at least two sides of the story. Often, the journalists presenting information inflect their personal opinions into the story. Although these unbalanced opinions do not overtly dominate every article or news broadcast, a bias or a certain slant could inevitably surface.

Given the difficulty of obtaining a completely unaltered account, I would further encourage Americans who watch political opinion shows to research the issues before forming a firm opinion, thus preventing the "experts" from passing on their opinions like hand-me-downs. Americans should investigate the literature and facts relating to the issues they consider important. This advice becomes increasingly relevant during elections, when politicians undertake massive efforts to spin public...