How does mass media affect our perception of reality?

2 Answers

mkoren's profile pic

mkoren | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

The mass media affects our perception of reality. Americans get a great deal of their information from the mass media. Before television, if an event wasn’t written about in the newspaper, a person likely never knew that event had occurred. Even after the arrival and development of television, the mass media affected our sense of reality. When a story appeared on television, news reports said a lot about its importance. Something that was the first or second story received a lot more coverage than a story at the end of the news. Many people wouldn’t know about a given event if a story didn’t appear at all on the television news report.

Today, the mass media also affects our perception of reality. There are stations that are slanted toward a particular point of view. If somebody only watches Fox News, he or she is likely to get a more conservative viewpoint of events. If somebody only watches MSNBC, he or she is likely to get a more liberal viewpoint of events.

Today, we have to expand the meaning of mass media to include social media. Social media can present a very distorted view of opinions. Anybody can post just about anything on social media. It takes a trained eye to spot biased or inaccurate information that is spread by social media. Just because something is posted doesn’t mean it is true.

There is a statement that the “pen is mightier than the sword.” This shows us the power of the mass media, regardless of what media form you are considering. The mass media has significant power to greatly affect our reality.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The mass media affect our perception of reality because, in a very real sense, they create our reality.

For most of us, much of the rest of the world exists only through the mass media.  The typical American, for example, knows nothing about China except what comes to them through the media.  Therefore, the media has a tremendous ability to influence how we perceive reality.  The stories that the media chooses to tell about a given country, or even about a given aspect of our own country, can form the entirety of our knowledge about that topic.  Because we get so much of our information through the mass media, it has a great deal of influence over our perceptions.