Essay Title: 

Do media construct public opinion?

April 3, 2016 | Author: | Posted in education

Do media construct public opinion


During many generations media has assisted in culture stratification by serving as a particular medium to inform the community of the occurrences that take place in our society . As Mantsios asserts in the essay Media Magic : Making Class Invisible ‘ the mass media is arguably the most influential in molding public consciousness (Mantsios , 1995 ,

.101 . The more newss , television , radio and Internet news sites play a prominent role in picturing situations in the society the more media stereotypes become inevitable . From the practical standpoint [banner_entry_middle]

, stereotypes occurring in media classify individuals by their class , ethnicity , occupation , gender , and sexual orientation , supplying the audience with a generalized ideal of the characteristics of a particular group . From the contemporary point of view , media significantly contributes to the creation of public opinion stereotypes , and this process reaches the apogee in the gender issues poverty , race and violence , and religion

According to Mantsios , the media is characterized with a tendency to focus on the plight of the poor , these stories are about middle-class opposition to the poor . Such stories tell us that the poor are an inconvenience and an irritation (Mantsios , 1995 ,

.103 . In the article titled Closing the Education Achievement Gap , the government is to make a major provision to the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act . The Act will provide 200 billion dollars , from our ‘ pockets , to schools with children from low-income families . The goal of the revision is to raise the achievement of children in low-income schools to those in higher-income , predominately white , families

When reading over the editorial and reviewing the photograph that accompanied the article , it was evident that the term “low-income ” was portrayed by grueling neighborhoods populated by ethnic and visible minorities . The photos portrayed are a false representation of reality In fact , Census figures reveal that the majority of individuals that are considered “poor ” are actually white , and not of Black or Hispanic descent (Mantsios , 1995 ,

.104 . The media has made the correlation that if a group of individuals are considered low-income they are undoubtfully assumed to be of an ethnic or minority cast

Another point reiterated in the media is the distinction that the middle-class is comprised of the upper-class and white-collared workers and the under-class solely defined as the poor and colored . The implication disclosed in the media is that “we ” are burdened by “their inability to support themselves “the poor live in a personal and cultural cycle of poverty that hopelessly imprisons them (Mantsios 1995 ,

.103 . In the under-class , the breadwinner ‘s inability to maintain a job , and provide for their family – by sending them to decent schools – leaves “us ” the responsibility to support a revision that the government deems worthy . As Mantsios points out “for the media , `we the affluent not only stand apart from the `other ‘ – the poor , the working class , the minorities , and their problems – `we ‘ are also victimized by the poor (Mantsios , 1995 ,


Jack Lyle , a former Professor of Journalism at the University of California , spoke to the issue of stereotypes in portrayals of race and violence nearly 40 years ago in the introduction of a book “The Black American and the Press .even the trained reporter sees an event from the particular points of view shaped by time , geographic location and psychological filters of past experiences (Lyle , 1968 ,

.14 . Karl Fleming , a former Los Angeles Bureau Chief of Newsweek magazine asserted that studies have shown that a large number of people , maybe two-thirds , get most or all their news from television . If these people never see anything about Negroes except when they are shown in a bad light , this certainly constitutes biased reporting (Peffley , Shields and Williams , 1999 ,

. 311

Nearly 30 years later , the image of the black community , according to Fleming , has not improved greatly . In fact , it has gotten worse . Before the 60 ‘s , the problem was one of abandonment – the black community was invisible , since blacks were ignored , as if they did not exist . From the critical point of view , the problem of television and its impact , along with its appetite for violence , exacerbates the problem . According to Fleming , a part , if not the is completely negative (Peffley , Shields , and Williams , 1999 ,

. 314 An advisor to “Rebuild L .A ” a nonprofit organization of business and community leaders created after the riots following the Rodney King verdict , Fleming believes more greed than racism is at the bottom of the problem , although subtle racism is involved . To an inordinate degree TV news shows are about violence , and show these people [blacks and Latinos] as violent people who won ‘t work , and only care about booze sex , violence and fathering illegitimate children (Peffley , Shields and Williams , 1999 ,

. 315

The police , according to some sociology experts , have a vested interest in maintaining this image in to justify their power over the community . According to Kirk Johnson the Boston Police Department has adroitly positioned itself to support the entertainment shows that support this image (Johnson , 1997 ,

.52 . The so-called reality shows are funny and nice . In the reality , they are hopelessly violent and unredeemably amoral and lazy

The Center for American Politics and Public Policy at UCLA published a in the Harvard International Journal of Press /Politics , providing an academic underpinning to many of sociology and psychology specialists ‘ assertions . The center monitored local network affiliate news shows from March 1994 to March 1996 . The resulting document “Crime in Black and White : The Violent , Scary World of Local News demonstrates that local TV ‘s “preoccupation ” with crime is occurring in an environment where crime has decreased in the last two decades . The center ‘s quotes results from a book titled “Is Anyone Responsible ” a 1991 University of Chicago publication that provides a content analysis of national newscasts between 1981 and 1986 . It found that ABC , CBS and NBC television networks “broadcast more than 1 ,100 reports on crime , for an average of more than 15 stories per month . The book , authored by Professor Shanto Iyengar of UCLA , supports other studies showing that crime accounts for an increasingly “heavy share ” of broadcast news programming over the last decade . The study pointed to “two qualitative features of news programming violence and race ” as especially important . According to Iyengar “not only does the news coverage highlight violent crime , it also links the issues of race and crime by over representing minorities in the role of violent criminals and by according them distinctive forms of coverage (Iyengar , 1991 ,

br 61 . In summary , the typical news story on crime consists of two scripts : crime is violent , and criminals are non-white

In the media coverage there is a second “distortion ” – defining crime in racial terms – which serves to activate widely shared stereotypes about racial minorities . Other studies concluded that there were significant differences in the pattern of sources used in the news reports According to Mary Beth Oliver when the news story featured a black perpetrator , the reporter relied on sources hostile to the perpetrator nearly 50 percent of the time (Oliver , 1994 ,

.186 . Hispanic perpetrators were accorded similar treatment with 41 percent of their coverage including unsympathetic sources ” according to the study (Oliver , 1994 ,

.189 . Whites received “most favored perpetrator treatment , with only 25 percent of the stories dealing with white perpetrators relying on hostile sources

Undoubtedly , advertising is an essential part of our society , as is the role of the media . Media allows people to see more things and so choose what they want to be – but unfortunately that choice for girls and boys are often one full of impossible contradictions in what they are shown meaning that television perhaps confuses further an issue which it could help to resolve with more equal and less stereotypical portrayals of women and men . Undoubtedly , there should be limits on what can be advertised because as a society we have to remember we have kids that are being raised in a society where access to any type of advertisement is unlimited due to internet and cable television

Television is the fastest growing market with advertising . It has grown so quickly because the message can appeal to the eye , the ear , and the mind . Television ads are quick , persuasive , and enticing . The advertising and marketing budgets aimed at children approached 12 billion dollars . Four hours of television programming contain about 100 ads (National Institute on Media and the Family ) The cost of owning a television has dropped , therefore making ads reach more people than ever before

Radio advertising has always profited well in the United States for many reasons . Radio is very cheap and effective to a certain point Radio does not have the visual aspects that television has but it can contain catchy phrases or jingles . Radio is better than television in the aspect of targeting and audience . Many radio stations have local advertisements to appeal to people in a certain area . Radio stations also have a very distinct listening audience . Radio stations can pinpoint their target groups by doing numerous surveys around the broadcast area . Many hip-hop and hits radio stations have a large group of youths listening everyday . So advertisers make ads to appeal to a certain age group or gender

Print advertisements have many positive aspects as well as television and radio . Billboards are seen by many people on the roads everyday Billboards are effective because they reach a lot of people with huge ads . Billboards also are designed to appeal to the eye with bright colors to attract the driver to read the product being advertised News ads are also effective because they reach many people and they are the least expensive way of mass advertising

Advertisers use certain techniques to lure the customer to either buy the product or read the rest of the advertisement . One way advertisers try to appeal to many people by making their ads appealing to an array of age groups . They do this by making an adult ‘ ad contain many subliminal messages to appeal to youth . Advertisers also try to narrow down their age group of consumers to save money and increase effectiveness . Advertisers use certain colors and pictures to help catch the eye of the consumer easily . For example restaurants will use many yellows in their ads because it sends a message of hunger to the consumer

Gender advertising is very important in youth because they are very gender bias . Young men are being taught that being over weight means that you are unattractive and lazy . Children are also very gender bias for example boys won ‘t play with Barbies because they are girl toys Advertising therefore needs to try to appeal to both men and women for the best results . Young women are constantly bombarded with beauty products because in American society women are constantly seeking to improve their appearance . This effect of the media has had an enormous affect on American children because they are constantly being shown beautiful people in advertisements

Body image created by advertisers has had a very large effect in the world because children see the attractive person in the advertisement and think that they need to look like them . At age thirteen , 53 of American girls are unhappy with their bodies ‘ This grows to 78 by the time girls reach seventeen (National Institute on Media and the Family ) This fact has brought upon other problems with youth such as anorexia , bulimia , and depression . One out of every 11 commercials on television has a direct message about beauty not even counting the number of indirect messages . Americanized countries or even any other industrialized countries with the direct influence of television are found to have considerably more problems with eating diss

Food advertising also affects our nation ‘s children with obesity as well . Surveys confirm that hours spent in television viewing correlate with poor diet . This may be because television does not involve much activity therefore burning fewer calories , or the influence that the advertisements have on the food they eat . Children often hear an advertisement for a fast food restaurant on the radio stations they listen to and the television stations they watch . This has become a growing problem across the world but has affected the United States the greatest

Tobacco industries have been blamed for many years for directing their advertisements towards teenagers . Many people have blamed advertising for underage smoking in America because the ads are appealing to young and active people . 4 .1 million adolescents , ages 12 to 17 smoke (Juvenile Justice Bulletin ) Facts have proven that the most heavily advertised cigarettes are most popular in teens

Advertising has taken much of the blame for underage drinking in the United States as well . Parents have been expressing their disapproval for many years about the content of the advertisements made by the alcohol industry . In 2004 , beer and alc companies spent over 695 million to advertise their products on television . When asked to choose their favorite television commercial in a spring 2002 study , more teens named commercials for Budweiser than any other brand , including Pepsi , Nike and Levi ‘s (Television : Alcohol ‘s Vast Adland

Violence in media is also a major concern with parents because they have realized that their children are being exposed to inappropriate violence . Studies have proven that violence on television has made children less sensitive to the pain and suffering of others . Children may also be more fearful of the world around them . Also studies have shown that children exposed to excessive violence may be more likely to behave in aggressive or harmful ways toward others . Police reports also say that violent crimes committed by children have increased every year Parents may say that this is directly related to the amount of violent television children are now exposed to . Although there is no way to prove such a thing evidence does support that television is too violent

Parents also have a strong argument that media promotes unhealthy activity such as , laziness , and obesity . Many studies have been performed to prove that children are less active directly because of television . Hours spent slouching in front of television or computer screens , combined with carrying heavy school bags , are blamed for a five per cent increase in children with backache , according to research by the British Chiropractic Association . Inactive Children , when compared to active children , weigh more , have higher blood pressure and lower levels of heart protective high- density lipoproteins (American Heart Association . This fact has been able to be proven because of the overwhelming evidence shown by many studies

Mass media has been blamed for promoting unhealthy body either by advertising unhealthy foods or the idolization of beautiful people Since children are more susceptible to be persuaded than adults , they tend to be attracted more to food advertisements or a beautiful model Because of the fast persuasive advertisements on television children are more attracted to the message conveyed therefore will pay more attention to it . For example , teenager ‘s boy image is a huge burden because of peer-pressure from their schoolmates and also television advertisements .American celebrities are also very influential on children because they have everything that a successful person has as far as material things Children view celebrities as role models therefore buying what they have or acting like them . One of the most important features of childhood and adolescence is the development of identity . As children shape their behavior and values , they may look to heroes and role models for guidance . Advertisers realize how children idolize their heroes and role models so they use them in their ads promoting everything from clothes to beauty products

On the other side of the argument advertisers claim that the parents are at fault because they either buy the products directly or they give the money to the children to but it themselves . The advertising industry has responded to these arguments by citing the benefits exposure to media may bring to children . Even though advertisers say that they do not promote unhealthy lifestyles there is overwhelming evidence that media greatly influences children . The feud between parents and media has been heating up recently and each party have legitimate arguments against the other . This country is famous for democracy and free enterprise so companies attempt to succeed any way possible

Advertising offers youth entertainment , diversion , a way to manage their mood states , and information on how to satisfy personal needs . Its first-class graphics , music , and humor give advertising the potential to teach children language , cognitive , social , and artistic skills Successful children ‘s programs like Sesame Street rely upon advertising techniques to teach children all manner of things . Advertising has been doing this for years . More than 90 of the revenues from television advertising directed at children are reinvested in children ‘s programs

Families are being affected negatively because the values are being focused around television and media views . With the television turned on for an average 6 hours and 48 minutes a day in homes that have it , there can be no doubt that television , as well as movies , plays a major role in influencing young minds . Many families no longer have family dinners or gatherings : this is contributing to more time watching television and less time with parents . Now media is the most influential aspect of children ‘s lives , in a study tested in 1980 reports that media was in third place behind parents and school

The daily diet of violence and sex that the media feeds to children poses a serious risk to the future of the nation , writes Sisela Bok in Mayhem : Violence as Public Entertainment (1999 . It is alarmist or merely sensible to ask about what happens to the souls of nurtured , as in no past society , on images of rape , torture , bombings , and massacres that are channeled into their homes from infancy (Bok , 1999 . Before finishing elementary school , the average child will see some 8 ,000 murders and 100 , 000 acts of violence on television , according to a study by the American Psychological Association

Much of the public agrees that the pervasive influence of the media has made it difficult to raise responsible children USA Today / CNN / Gallup Poll , shows 76 of Americans say that negative influences from television , movies and music pose a serious problem for parents trying to raise children (USA Today / CNN / Gallup poll . A majority of people in the poll said that there are many negative influences in the culture that even children whose parents do a good job may get into trouble

Other people , however , say that popular culture has become a scapegoat for social problems among children . They claim that the culture is creating an immoral generation of young people . Most studies show that parents have more influence on children ‘s morals and behavior than any other factor . Parents , rather than media companies , should take responsibility for monitoring the media that children encounter Advertising agencies note that parents will be gaining greater control over television programming with the new technology of the v-chip . The v-chip is technology that allows parents to block television shows that are inappropriate for children . The system works on a system of ratings that blocks out any channel including advertisements for viewing . V-chip technology is a feature newer televisions have to screen inappropriate channels . Every television station has a maturity rating that judges what material is normally shown on that station . Parents can set the v-chip ratings to suit the age group of their children , so only the acceptable maturity rating television stations will appear on the screen

Many steps made by the government have helped the screening of inappropriate material to youth . Technologies such as v-chip , parental controls , and television age ratings help to a certain extent but media will always search for new ways to influence young Americans

After conducting my research I believe that media definitely affects the society ‘s oppinion and actions within themselves . Evidently , the media plays significant role in stereotypes creating , and the dilemma becomes even more critical because the delivery of stereotypical messages is conducted via visual mediums . Television is the most effective way to advertise in most cases but certainly not the only way Graber ‘s research on television suggests that audiovisual themes are more memorable than verbal information , and thus this fact contributes significantly to the spread of stereotypes . The cheap , appealing , and accessible advertising through the internet has been growing every year Evidence about the effectiveness of this advertising has come mainly from industry reports . Five recent reports conclude that internet advertisements build brands (i .e , increase advertisement awareness brand awareness , brand image , or intent to purchase . These studies suggest that size , use of interactive elements (such as flash or DHTML and advertisement position increase branding (Interactive Advertising Bureau . The continued construction of biases and stereotypes in the media are what develop and deepen the public opinion on hierarchies created by the misleading representation of the cultural and ethnic diversities that encompass American nation . All in all , the advertisers are making plenty of money promoting this rubbish theless I believe there may be slight changes in the future . On the other hand , the major adjustment is going to take time to draw closer


Bok , Sissela (1999 . Mayhem : Violence as Public Entertainment . Perseus

Children ‘s Need for Physical Activity : Fact Sheet . American Heart Association . Retrieved January 13 , 2007 from the World Wide Web http /www .americanheart .org /presenter .jhtml ?identifier 771

Five Principles That Online Can Learn from Offline Marketing Interactive Advertising Bureau . Retrieved January 13 , 2007 from the World Wide Web : http /www .iab .net measuringsuccess /img /measuringsuccess .pdf

Iyengar , Shanto (1991 . Is Anyone Responsible ? Chicago University Press

Johnson , Kirk A (1997 , May / June . Black and White in Boston . Columbia Journalism Review , 26 , 50-52

Lyle , Jack (1968 . The Black American and the Press . The Regents of the University of California

Mantsios , Gregory (1995 . Media Magic : Making Class Invisible . In Paula S . Rothenberg , ed , Race , Class , and Gender in the United States : An Integrated Study , 3rd ed . New York : St . Martin ‘s Press

Media ‘s Effect On Girls : Body Image And Gender Identity . National Institute on Media and the Family . Retrieved January 16 , 2007 from the World Wide Web : http /www .mediafamily .org /facts /facts_mediaeffect .shtml

Oliver , Mary Beth (1994 . Portrayals of Crime , Race , and Aggression in `Reality-Based ‘ Police Shows : A Content Analysis . Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media 38 (2 ,179-92 Peffley , Mark , Todd Shields , and Bruce Williams (1999 . The Intersection of Race and Crime in Television News Stories : An Experimental Study . Political Communication , 13 , 309-27

Substance Abuse . Survey by the U .S . Department of Health and Human Services . Juvenile Justice Bulletin . Retrieved January 16 , 2007 from the World Wide Web : http /ojjdp .ncjrs .org /jjbulletin /9804 /substance .html

Television : Alcohol ‘s Vast Adland . Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth . Retrieved January 15 , 2007 from the World Wide Web http /www .vmr .com /pdfs /TV .VastAdland .pdf

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