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Discuss evidence from at least 2 areas where it has been argued that media affects public belief and / or behaviour.

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Introduction

Sociology Level 1. Question 4b. Discuss evidence from at least 2 areas where it has been argued that media affects public belief and / or behaviour. Student Name: Alexander McCormick. Matriculation No. 0005671. Tutor: Patricia McCafferty. Essay Submitted: March 16th, 2001. Much can be said for the media and it's effects, it is an area, which has received much attention and has been utilised in a variety of forms, for a multitude of reasons, with both positive and negative influences. There can be no doubt that it is a powerful tool, and used for the right reason, it could be a wonderful thing. This essay will look at evidence supporting claims that certain people use the media to propagate pro Capitalist Ideology, manipulating in a very deliberate way the response and content of media. With evidence from a British study by Grover and Soothill, of the press reporting of sexually motivated murders, Australian Stuart Fists article on the suppression of the Tumour potential of GSM cellular phones. American Carl Jensen's 20yrs of censored news which looks at the diabolical record of American Government services and their involvement in suppressing sensational stories, and the content analysis of the British mainstream media reporting by Greg Philo, this essay will attempt to summarise the evidence supporting their claims. From a positive historical perspective, the media served to empower the trade unions and inform the workforce. Radical worker newspaper sales escalated at the turn of the 20th Century, educating and informing the working class of economic and political matters and inequalities, which may have had a bearing on their employment. ...read more.

Middle

(4) It has been argued that there is always time and space to give full and proper explanations of the 'official pro-message' in mainstream media, and the most common misrepresentations for Jensen and Philo alike, are Omission. Vital details of a story are left out; whole sentences are taken out of context and adapted with new meanings. The political repression of left-wing governments on their people is widely reported and condemned by the west, such as Castro in Cuba. Yet virtually nothing is reported about oppression and killings in western supported right-wing client states such as Turkey, Indonesia and Guatemala. For Jensen (8) the muting and downplaying of such sensational stories as the 1965, US financed, trained, advised and equipped overthrowing of Indonesian president Achmed Sukarno, eradicating the Indonesian Communist Party in the process, is typical of the suppression of stories reflecting poorly those of western power. He also claims that when Omission proves to be ineffective, the media will resort to outright lies. For example when the CIA involved itself with drug traffickers in Italy, France, Corsica, Indochina, Afghanistan and Central and South America, it became the object of congressional investigations and a matter of public record. However the media did not report it, evidence was ignored and they repeatedly lied about its existence. A British study by Grover and Soothill 1996 (5), on the press reporting of sexually motivated murders, believe the media has the power and ability to condemn and stereotype a lot of people, much in the same way as the term 'underclass' has, by representing a section of the public as deviant. ...read more.

Conclusion

Media representations of Arthur Scargill at that time were not favourable, every attempt was being made to undermine the miners and their cause, and to break the strike, sentences were taken out of context, minor skirmishes reported as violent outbursts. Media representations favoured hugely on the side of the government, avoiding criticism from the Left, exploiting the nature of modern capitalist society drawing on right wing ideology to justify tighter control and more stringent measures. However peoples perception of the events reflected their class or economic position in society, from the same reporting there were two completely opposite reactions to it. The middle and upper classes believed media reports of terrible acts of violence toward the police and authorities, whilst the lower classes were less inclined to believe such reporting as truth. Powerful though the media is, it exists alongside other socialising factors such as, family, peers, schools and work and may have less effect on one person than it has on another and we also all have our own opinions on matters. So despite the pervasive impact of the media, evidence suggests that it cannot be agreed who controls it, the State, the Capitalists or the Audience. The fast growing pace of the internet and digital TV and its access to media that suits the individual viewer places more power than ever before in the hands of the consumer, which would fit with the view of Alvin Toffler in 'Future Shock', who saw increasing options for the individual both as a consumer of media output and as a producer, in the future. ...read more.

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