How do current affairs TV programs influence/manipulate public opinion through their selective publishing and presentation of "news" (media bias)?
How do the media privilege a person/idea/group through film techniques (camera angles/shots), music, manner of presentation, sequencing of information and their lack of balance in seeking opinion from a variety of sources?
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Part of the reason how current affairs programs help to influence or manipulate public opinion is through the blending or blurring of lines. The idea of being able to present individual viewpoints through the lens of news reporting helps to create venues where individuals are not entirely certain as to where the news reporting stops and the formulation and expression of personal opinion starts. This blurring of the lines creates an experience for many viewers where such reality is not entirely clear. It is in this vein where public opinion becomes manipulated. The selective presentation and covert manner in which opinion is offered can help to shape public opinion. There used to be a strict demarcation between reporting and editorializing the news. This line has become blurred, and a consequence of this blurring is the manipulation of public opinion.
Ever find it interesting that every single day, every newspaper or news broadcast has just enough news to fit the minutes/pages? Of course, this isn't true, they select the news they wish to share with us. This is actually one of the more subtle, more effective means of media bias than slanted commentary or lead ins.
Watching American news programs would make one think that news only happens here. Apparently, unless there is a tragedy, nothing ever happens in Africa, Latin America or Asia. Even Europe more or less must stand around and stare at walls all day. Is it any wonder Americans are so unaware of the world around them?
Many argue that today's "News" programs blur the line between news and entertainment - that it's more profitable to simply tell us either what we want to hear, or show us what we most like to watch, since this translates to ratings and ad dollars. This is how we end up with an entire week of the Tiger Woods Scandal on CNN. They are rewarding us for our scandal appetite.
These networks have also mastered the art of creative presentation - flashing graphics, ominous or celebratory music, pretty faces, and loaded language have made these broadcasts largely devoid of news unfortunately.
As research/proof, watch a half hour of Fox News or MSNBC with Keith Olbermann and then watch a half hour of the Lehrer News Hour on PBS or the BBC America News Hour. Very easy to see the difference between profit and non-profit news.
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