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Media Construction of Reality

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Introduction

CONTENTS Page Table of Contents.....................................................................................1 Media's Construction of Reality..................................................................2 The Media............................................................................................2 The Environmentalists.............................................................................4 Conclusion............................................................................................6 References...........................................................................................7 MEDIA'S CONSTRUCTION OF REALITY Media has the ability to influence opinions by publicly ratifying or vilifying the motives and activities of any group and uses this ability at its own discretion. A nuisance protestor can easily become a hard core activist, depending on the perspective. As the owners of the media have a vested interest in the global market place, ' (...) [in] 1998 five transnational corporations controlled the vast majority of the media content' (Wiseman 1998, p. 75), the perspective is somewhat bias. Bonney and Wilson attest that: 'most of what the media report as having happened did actually happen. They do not, in general, fabricate the facts. What they do, rather, is to report them from within the dominant perspectives on the social realities of the day.' (1988, p. 11) Fowler (1996, p. 2) also points out that news, in a capitalist society, usually agrees with the ideology of the controlling groups as news is an industry that has its own commercial interests at heart, and far from neutrally reflecting social reality actually promote the "social construction of reality." The ideology of the media is the determining factor when it comes to what news society actually hears and from whose perspective. ...read more.

Middle

Mitchell (2000) described activists as hardened international protesters with a potential for violence and a recent report (The Australian 18 March 2002, p. 6) depicted a sea of demonstrators leaving a trail of damage in its wake. Reports like these reflect the way in which activists are frequently presented in the mainstream press, violent, destructive extremists, but, as Anleu (1991, p. 5) claims, deviant behaviour can increase when police intervention creates new opportunities for crime. In a capitalist society only the established legal system has the authority to effect formal social control, the obvious police presence at protests can have the effect of agitating the emotions of the activists and provoking conflict. Informal social control is found in the pages of the press, the might of the media and the labeling of these groups and their members as deviant. Fowler (1996) suggests that the media's obsession with violent individuals, and using them as symbols, avoids any serious discussion or explanation of the underlying social and economic factors: the brick-throwing rioter is imaged over and over again, but the reasons behind these displays of deviance are rarely documented. By deliberately focusing on the actions of a few the message from the many is often overlooked. ...read more.

Conclusion

(1995, p. 101, 102) CONCLUSION Halimi (1997) questions the role of journalists and intellectuals in a world where 358 billionaires control wealth equivalent to the combined income of nearly half the world's population. The same journalists who write for the papers, talk on the radio and appear on our televisions are almost as part of the ruling class as the business elite themselves. In a capitalist society wealth has a tendency to dominate the politics, create the ideology and label the deviants. As McChesney states: 'A specter now haunts the world: a global commercial media system dominated by a small number of super-powerful, mostly U.S. based transnational media corporations. It is a system that works to advance the cause of the global market and promote commercial values, while denigrating journalism and culture not conducive to the immediate bottom line or long-run corporate interests.' (1997, p. 1) The voices of the people involved with the environmental and anti-globalization movements may be distorted and the members may be depicted as unsavoury elements in our society but they are achieving something. Through their increasingly effective activism, although blemished by media's negative portrayal, they are raising public awareness of the global environmental threats and a much larger audience has been reached, thanks to the media. ...read more.

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