How does mass media affect our perception of reality?

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Guy Debord, in his much celebrated The Society of the Spectacle, once wrote that capitalism has transformed culture into an illusion, one in which the complete alienation of everyday people from the products of their labor has led to a repudiation of the reality in which they live. He maintained that “Owing to the very success of this separated system of production, whose product is separation itself, that fundamental area of experience which was associated in earlier societies with an individual’s principal work is being transformed—at least at the leading edge of the system’s evolution—into a realm of non-work, of inactivity” (emphasis added). While this statement may or may not be an extreme socialist analysis of the modern-day relationship between people and the world they live in, it certainly provides some theoretical resonance to the question of perception in society.

There should be no doubt that mass media is one of the most powerful manifestations of modern-day...

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