Second Hand Smoke: Media's Misportrayal of the Middle East

Essay by duffballzHigh School, 12th gradeA-, May 2004

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by: the Vooster

I am tired. I am tired of hearing the same thing every morning when I turn on my television to see the morning's news around the world. It is obvious to me what they are trying to do. They. The almighty media. An enterprise based solely on delivering the 'hard facts of the world'. That's hardly believable. I do not want to be subjected to its negative aspects, but others unknowingly succumb to its desires. Their target has been acquired and their mission is complete. I go to school and hear remarks directed at me that indirectly relate to what I have been viewing on the television the past decade. I am sick of it.

Societies inability to distinguish the media's propaganda, has led to prejudice and discrimination at a national scale. This makes me furious. Even one person who becomes racist is too much. In this country, we are informed how wrong racism is, yet the media seems to reintroduce the idea that different races do not have same status as developed countries are.

Now, racist gangs and different ethnic groups are emerging to protect their heritage and their country name. Many of their beliefs are

based on what is being repeated by the media. I wish I had the power to straighten out the negative messages they are giving, but I am insignificant. I am nothing more than a 'potential target'. I am now outside with my friend who smokes. She jokingly blows the smoke in my face. This is second hand smoke. I know it is not healthy, but it does have an affect on me. Smoke is all that is bad. Negativity at its best. Second hand smoke represents the idea that people are influenced all the time by others. That's the

surprise of the century.

Let's regard Smoke as misinformation. Misinformation can be as simple as a subliminal message

which conveys the media's prejudice. Who wouldn't. We want a monotonous society which has the same beliefs, desires, friends and enemies; so it goes. The media are the center of the universe for information around the world. Everything said and shown is taken as the truth. What is meant when the news says, " It was another successful day in Iraq". Is war the way to solve problems? What is success in their eyes? Two Iraqi soldiers were killed, however they do not mention the countless number of civilians who were also massacred. The media delivers the messages that help glorify the reason for going to war with a country in the middle east like Iraq. Is success gained at the expense of innocent loss of life? I don't think so, but the media does not give many viewers the opportunity to consider this because it is never shown.

Over the past fifteen years, the media has focused a lot of their attention on the terrorists, and more recently ' The War on Terror'. Up to the beginning of the Gulf War, people did not have as great an understanding of terrorism, and therefore did not think of the Middle East as poorly as they do now. The media, during the war between Iraq and the United States, led the western world to believe that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and the capability of attacking countries who opposed them. This caused an uproar. People began discriminating and disrespecting Iraqis around the world. Why? Because television portrayed Iraqis as evil. The media obviously glorified the US. The Gulf War was forgotten for a 10 year

period until the history-making September 11th attacks on US soil. It was the first time the media so actively contributed to prove who was responsible for it. When Muslims who oppose the US assumed responsibility, the term Muslim changed. Now, to the viewers who were following the aftermath of the attacks, the word Muslim is joined to the word terrorist. I am mad about this. I now realize how for the past three years, people have jokingly been calling me 'terrorist' because of my Persian heritage. The media has created the biggest wave of racism in the 21st century.

Children are influenced by the media. Television is the most accessible form of entertainment. Visual comprehension is the strongest form of understanding for children, the media has done great damage. Many racist children are being brought up having heard and seen the media and their parent's reactions to terrorist-related acts. The children are the ones who unknowingly suffer, and their beliefs about the Muslim community will seem second nature to them.

In a world increasingly unstable and dangerous, media must be more cautious about how they act in front of others. Unity between the different religions must be formed to reduce innocent bloodshed due to racism. Today a viewer has seen an attack on the news by terrorists on a city. Tomorrow he calls someone who is Muslim a terrorist. Next, he starts a dispute and he is gunned down because the Muslim is not ready to take any discrimination from some non-Muslim. Another person has become a victim of

the media's smoke.