What is the role of media in controversial matters?

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Media can play many different roles depending on the type of media available. Some media sources are little more than propaganda. Some governements or other agencies control what the media can and cannot say. In this type of situation, the media's role in a controversial issue is to cover it up or otherwise sweep the issue under the rug. Social media can play a very different role. Sometimes social media allows people to share their ideas and thoughts about controversial issues. Other times social media spread uneducated opinions displayed as facts. In some cases, social media can lead to protests (peaceful or otherwise) centered around controversial issues. Main-stream media often plays a role in presenting people with both facts and opinions surrounding controversial issues. The level of unbias journalism or bias journalism can shape how people view a specific issue.
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Another significant factor to consider is how the media "spins" events. In reporting, the tone, description, and amount of coverage all form a single narrative that can be controlled and manipulated by media figures, be it from a governmental source or by their backers. In either case, a higher power is causing the story being told to conform to some set of standards, often differing from an objective truth or report.

In the U.S., both of the major political parties accuse the other of manipulating the media to report things in their own favor. The truth of these accusations depends mostly on an individual's personal beliefs.

The role of a spin media, then, is to cause the media narrative to conform to a certain set of standards and rules; objective reporting becomes secondary to the spin itself.

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I think that there has to be some further discussion behind "controversial" matters.  In many democratic systems, the role of the media is critical in keeping the public aware of what those in the position of power are doing with their authority. In this, the media is part of the promises and possibilities of an open society.  At the same time, I believe that the media's scrutiny of people's lives might be something that needs some level of curtailing.  In a society that is craving salacious gossip and "the next big thing," there might be a rush for the media that could endure some level of limitation.  In a 24 hour news cycle as well as constant replaying in the world of the internet and the blogosphere, I think that the media might deem something as newsworthy of even "controversial," but could actually be the opposite.

Yet, if the question is dealing with political matters of issues of social concern, I think that the media does have a responsibility to allow the people the opportunity to know what is happening and the impact it has on them.  In the end, I would qualify the term "controversial."

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