You’re on a need to know basis

Illustration by Danny Meza

Daily we surf through sites on the web, flip the channel or open up the folded pages of the newspaper to learn about the parts of the world we are blinded to. As the recipient of the message we entrust ourselves into the hands of the reporters to deliver us accurate news that may impact our lives the very next day.

Over the years the news delivered to the public has become questionable in its content – widening the gap of distrust between reporters and their audience. The factual news that engaged the readers, even the illiterate, has become borderline in the stories delivered.

Many news media outlets sensationalize the message to their audience – forever bathing themselves in yellow journalism. This form of journalism seems to have become even more favorable in today’s society since it’s initial conception, leaving many individuals confused on the news they are actually receiving. The act of manipulating and packaging a message to the audience has become a gold mine to several news media outlets – bringing higher ratings to their networks. The benefits of higher ratings bring more money into the networks pockets from advertisers.

The problem is the more the news media depends upon advertising to cover for their resources, the more say advertisers have on the message the media delivers. Advertisers cannot be pinned alone for the final actions of the news media. The editors are the last say-so in how the news will run to the public. That evolving society has become more interested in scandals rather than the cutthroat facts of the news stories has made it weary on the final story we actually receive.

After all, the media is only delivering to their audience what they are demanding for.  Many individuals will pick up a gossip magazine first before turning to their daily newspaper to check the standing in our government. People have said they do not read or watch the news because it is boring and uninteresting. If a story is packaged and glamorized, such as Trayvon Martin or Kony 2012, the story goes viral.

The case of Trayvon Martin has become a hot topic in the news – bringing an escalation of ratings to several media networks. Many news networks such as NBC have experienced the benefits of high ratings from the case only due to manipulating the message to their audience. The news networks altered a recording of the 911 call between Zimmerman and the dispatcher. An apology statement was later released by the NBC news networks after they were found at fault for altering the recording. Had they not been caught for altering the actual recording, this would be the story they run with as accurate news.

It is so simple for a story to be altered and send a completely different message to the audience, such as using an outdated picture of Martin that frames him as an innocent defenseless child shot by an overpowering adult.
A young child murdered by a man brings a different feeling and message to the audience. Had news networks delivered a story with a recent picture of the seventeen-year-old, networks might not have received the same ratings and response from the viewers.

The media being able to manipulate a message to further their own benefit can be frightening to entrust what information is being delivered. What part of the stories are they not informing their audience about?
This places the public at their need-to-know basis. The truth is the media controls the message.
There is not much choice on taking the control out of the medias hands, so it is up to the individual to choose how they will take the message being delivered.

Not all news sources fall guilty to manipulating the message to further their own benefits. However, no one can be certain of the facts in the news, this requires the individual to educate themselves more on the topic of discussion before sharing it through one’s Facebook page.
Also do not quickly believe everything that you hear, keep an open mind.  The media delivers to the highest demand so if more of us demand for the facts then they will have to transgress to this in order to survive – but until then keep yourself accurately informed.[poll id="5"]

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