Guest Post by: Ricardo Anzola, student.
“What the mass media offers is not popular art, but entertainment which is intended to be consumed like food, forgotten, and replaced by a new dish.” – W.H. Auden
Often we encounter situations in which the Media takes a story or piece and wraps it together in a way, invisible to the naked eye, that brings out the “most audience” or “best ratings.” Though it is safe to say this isn’t a recent occurrence. Estimating the right amount it’s a waste of both time and brain power since it’d be easier to just count when real stories are on the front page.
The Media, capitalized to emphasize it as an entity, has taken a turn for the worst in recent years. Don’t believe me? Just turn on your TV or open up the latest issue of your favorite magazine. What you’ll see is not a fully structured, well developed story. That would be “too boring,” “too dull.” No, what you’ll see is entertainment, as they like to call it, that will leave you plastered on your seat for an immeasurable amount of hours a day. What you see can be called nothing but “herding the masses,” in my opinion. Networks that used to deliver conscious and educational content have opted for the easy way out and focused on things like “The Kardashians” and “The Amazing World of Gumball” which have no point, sequence, educational content or anything that can become a significant part of everyday life. Not to mention, that this is TV alone. News reports aren’t spared either. There’s been many instances where reports have been given erroneously and without previous background checking. It is here where the problem lies.
I took part in a presentation, today, about a rape case that had too many loose ends to be considered real. The problem? It was published in the Rolling Stone magazine, a well revered magazine read by millions. Just picture this: Young woman claims to have been allegedly gang raped by frat boys, but doesn’t go to the police. When interviewed, she asked for her name to be publicized. The editor did not perform a background check and wrote an entire piece on a single testimony. One can only assume why such little interest and devotion was put into this, but my best guess is: It was done for the sake of readership. Who wouldn’t want to read about a gang rape by university students? Even more so if published in a big-time magazine. It must be true…right? Survey says….nope. Time after publication, more research was done on the case. This then brought to light that the party the defendant was raped in didn’t even happen. Now you might think that this is a case in a million, but the media does this all the time. If you want further proof, just look up the Time Magazine’s covers for the last 5 years and compare the publications in the United States versus a cover in any other part of the world. The age of information-giving is over. Now all that remains is sensationalism and the boosting of reputation at any cost. As Niccolo Machiavelli would say “the ends justifies the means.”