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Using information from the items and elsewhere, assess the sociological arguments against the view that the news is a 'window on the world'.

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Introduction

Using information from the items and elsewhere, assess the sociological arguments against the view that the news is a 'window on the world'. It is perhaps correct to state that TV News has probably become the most common source of information that we rely on to gain knowledge about life outside our day to day experiences. News broadcasts are conscientiously handled to give a sense of seriousness and reliability; however some critics have suggested that it is a manufactured and manipulated product involving a high degree of selectiveness and bias. If so, is it possible for TV News to be still seen as a 'window on the world'? Instead of being an impulsive reaction to world events, many reports are planned well in advance. According to Schlesinger (1978), the news diary enables journalists and broadcasters to plan their coverage, and select and book relevant 'experts'. It also allows them to purchase news items from press agencies and also receive press releases from pressure groups, government agencies, private companies and individuals, all of whom wish to publicise their activities which could mean that the needs of these advertisers are made central when decisions about the content of the media are finalised. ...read more.

Middle

Accepting 'evidence' from sources without appropriately checking its reliability can lead to a biased view in favour of the official side of the argument. Financial considerations and resources available can also influence the news. The point at which the news company's financial year-end falls can affect how, and even whether, costly news items are covered. ITN had spent most of their 1991 overseas budget covering the Gulf War when news of the protests in Tiananmen Square broke and so were unable to capture some of the most memorable images of the decade. For this reason and the availability of space and time, sometimes stories are included or excluded simply because they need to be formed into a logical and consistent bulletin containing a number of items that will take exactly the same amount of time to put across each day. 'We do our best to give a clear picture of what is going on. In that sense the news is 'a window on the world,' explains an anonymous journalist in 2000, 'Of course we cant include every detail, or interview every person involved, we try to cover stories in a way that will interest and inform them.' ...read more.

Conclusion

There is a hierarchy of credibility whereby only certain groups are asked for their opinion, as they are seen to be more reliable and their remarks more valid. Protesters' tactics are more likely to be reported than their views, experts and establishment figures are more popularly heard than ordinary people. This can be displayed as only a small fraction of the window overlooking the great big world. As a final approach to this question, in contrast to all the conclusions made about media being manipulated in accordance with powerful authorities, the pluralist view, argue that the news reflects the full diversity of viewpoints in society and that certain views will dominate in each situation, whereby the bias is usually inconsistent. The work of the GUMG shows that the media do not just reflect public opinion but that they also provide an agenda for the public, so that people think about issues in a way that benefits the ruling class and help maintain the capitalist system. In this respect the media are a powerful ideological influence and so news cannot be a 'window on the world' if what we are looking through, is a blurred reality. ...read more.

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