The Truth: Media
Not to long ago, I presented a speech at Toastmasters on the media misleading the public, altering perception, and distorting reality. As dramatic as it may sound, it is simply the truth.
I do not watch the news, and I read news stories very selectively. Why? It’s all “infotainment”. Infotainment is “information-based media content or programming that also includes entertainment content in an effort to enhance popularity with audiences and consumers”. “If it bleeds, it leads” — almost a way to keep the public scared, in check, and depressed (maybe a lil exaggerated there…). Infotainment is often passed off as “news” on popular networks such as Fox News, Kron 4, and CBS. “News” on celebrities getting DUIs or their court cases can commonly be seen on the “news”, although these types of things happen to everyday people as well. How about reporting on the appearance of Hillary Clinton? As a Fox News reporter once did, stating she looked “haggard” or “like a 92 year old”. It is not ”news”, it’s gossip.
Here’s a good example of the media miseducating the public. What is the most common, most “vicious” dog you hear about? Pit bulls. These “vicious” maulings are a result of poor ownership of the animal. After speaking to many people about pit bulls, I’ve realized there is a common misperception that these canines are so dangerous because their jaws lock onto the victim and cannot be released. There is NO evidence to prove this; moreover, the media reinforces such images and reputations by showing pictures of pit bulls locked up after showing pictures of a victim who has been mauled. Some pit bulls have been bred to hang on if they bite, but it is not a mechanism in their jaw that causes the teeth to clamp down and lock. The truth is, over 25 breeds are commonly mistaken as pit bulls. Dog bite statistics are incredibly inaccurate. In fact, many bites are never even reported. Furthermore, amongst the top ten most reported dog bites include German shepherds which actually have a higher psi bite, Great Danes, huskies, and Dalmatians! If someone wants to know the truth, they must research it themselves rather than trusting the media.
Which leads me to my last point on misleading media. Media can easily miseducate the public by using celebrities to make advertising endorsements. I used a slide show with some magazine advertisements to see if the audience could guess what the ad was selling. Some ideas they had were “the purse?”, “a taxi?”—ultimately no one really had a clue what could possible have been advertised. The ad was asking for you to support PeTA.
PeTA launched a “I’d rather go naked” campaign paying celebrities to endorse them by posing nude and ultimately encourage donations. PeTA is the largest international animal rights group in the world, giving the impression that it is saving animals.
- Eva Mendes for PeTA. Also, for Maxim on a fur mat and in leather boots. Not the brightest apple in the bunch. Other celebrities that have endorsed PeTA include Pamela Anderson (as you watch one of her narrations on the leather trade in India, you can feel your brain cells diminishing with the sound of her voice), the Kardashians, and many more uneducated, useless people. These people are not leaders; they are entertainers. The two are distinct categories and these individuals are unable to intertwine the two (I am not saying it is not possible, but PeTA’s selection are as smart as a bag of rocks…but since PeTA’s basically a scam anyhow, what does it matter right?)
- In 2006, the organization took in 3,061 “companion animals”. 2,981 never made it out alive (97% euthanized), according the Virginia’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
- PeTA campaigned against the adoption of pit bulls, yet criticized the president for swatting a fly.
- In 2009, PeTA reported revenues of $34 million; the business can probably create facilities for unwanted animals, run them off volunteers, and still make reasonable profit with this type of revenue.
- PeTA gives out an image to be in support for animals but really is making a pretty penny off of donations, especially by having celebrities endorse them.
In order to avoid being misled by the media, you must do your own research and learn to question what you are being shown, rather than follow blindly.
Not only can media misinform the public, it can alter perception and distort reality.
Studies have shown that children under the age of 8 cannot distinguish between commercials and regular programming. If adults’ reality is being distorted, imagine what this is doing to the youth.
Children and young adults are consistently being exposed to negative media images by televisions, computers, ipods, tablets, cell phones, magazines, newspapers, billboards, you name it.
Music videos commonly contain the same elements: money, partying/drinking, cars, scantily dressed and poorly treated women, and in general, a fantasy world that for the majority of the world does not exist. When young minds (or even adults) are having the same message repeatedly drilled into their minds, it is affecting them. They are beginning to think life is a party and they want to act out like people in these music videos to get a rush and feel cool and accepted and just let loose and have fun. It is possible to create a motivational, selling music video with different elements, such as showing fit individuals doing extreme things (anyone remember Marines commercials?) or something else cool or mind-opening. You can get a runner’s high from exercising and having a proven endorphin release rather than poppin’ pills at a club…but that is not what is promoted by popular media…the majority of the music industry has completely lost its creativity and has come down to the same dull, brainwashing images over and over again. Because that’s what’s easy and sells.
When you look at magazines, you are exposed to a whole new dimension; it is artwork, not reality. It’s beautiful, but it’s not always real. I flipped through some dramatic slides of before and after pictures that had been photoshopped, women with makeup that completely changed the woman’s appearance, or both. My audience was shocked.
Young males are beginning to think the women seen in today’s media is what females are all about; scantily dressed, size 0 supermodels, that are photoshopped, with hours of hair and makeup each morning. This in turn, results in young girls with lower self-esteem, focusing more on appearance at schools rather than their studies, and striving to become these images; young girls are trying to become what is humanly impossible!
When in reality, where obesity is an epidemic in the U.S., women will turn to unhealthy habits such as bulimia in attempts to become these images. Ultimately, they do not have a personal stylist or hair & makeup artist to cake on a mask in about 3-4 hours of time.
What are the young girls supposed to do when they are looking up to these masters of disguise? What are they supposed to believe? Who are they supposed to believe?
Imagine what our future has in store with the generation that is being raised by today’s media; they are the ones who are soon to be in charge! I believe people want to be led; the problem is, however, they are not always following the right leader. In the words of Katie Couric, “Media can be an instrument of change. It can awaken people and change minds. It depends on who is piloting the plane.”
Solution: Think twice & be logical! Spread the knowledge.
2006. Still prevalent today & only getting worse…
Let’s hope this isn’t what the future has in store.
Video is pretty hilarious, yet sad cuz it constitutes reality for some.