What is the purpose of the daily news?
Many will answer and say that the news is there to inform the public, but is that really their purpose. Most of the news that is shown on television is shown in less than two to three-minute segments; a person cannot become informed on certain topics in that little amount of time.
The three-minute segments of news that are displayed on television only give the viewer a watered down version of information from a biased point of view. When a person watches the news one can see that many of images shown are negative towards a certain subject. The viewer may not see it but the shocking or exciting images being displayed constantly on the daily news must have some greater purpose than to inform the viewer.
The greater purpose is to provoke public interest and excitement; this provocation of public interest an excitement through the use of exciting or shocking images, stories, and language is called news sensationalism. Many people think they are being informed by the news but what they do not realize is that it is not always enlightening, as it should be, but it is instead very captivating.
Through the use of sensationalism the news that is displayed on television everyday impacts and influences a person by showing them negative images, using “buzz” words, providing one-sided information, and by restricting boundaries of information.
What types of images are displayed daily on the news?
Tune into the news and the first image that are shown are images on something negative like murder, war, violence, and death. News stations display these types of negative images in order to acquire your attention. Negative images on the news grab people’s attention because they rarely happen in a person’s life. People are attracted to negative images of violence and death because they find them fascinating.
These negative images are fascinating because many people have not experienced them first hand; there exists less violence and death now than in any other time in human history. Humans are creatures who have evolved over time from a civilization of violence and death to one that has become more sophisticated and educated.
Therefore, when images of violence and death are displayed on television they show people a part of the human past that was more violent. This shows that humans have some type wickedness inside them because if they did not humans would not sit in front of their television watching news on people’s death.
Now when horrible events occur in this world people can see it on the news, therefore, one can say that human beings have become desensitized to negative images because they are being shown constantly in a continual loop. Consequently, the negative images of violence and death may be showed on the news in order to remind humans of their violent past and to show that these events do occur in real life. In addition, the negative images help people manage with their current situations by showing them that their lives are not so bad and could be much worse.
The continual loop of negative images reflects that society likes the negative because it reminds humans of their fascination for violence and helps people cope with their current situations. The news media use “buzz” words constantly in their news and headlines to capture a viewer’s attention in order to instill fear and make profit. “Buzz” words, according to the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, are type of words or phrases that usually sound important or technical and are used primarily to impress people without knowledge in a particular subject (“buzzword”).
First off when a news station tries to grab the viewers attention they usually use the headline “We just got breaking news,” this phrase immediately captures a person’s attention because one does not know what to expect. After that phrase is said some type of “buzz” word usually follows it immediately because people will not know about the subject since it is breaking news. For example, when 9/11 occurred it was breaking news and president Bush followed right after the attack with a small speech.
In that speech president Bush used the “buzz” words terrorism, bombing, and extremism because they sounded technical to the situation. President Bush’s words captured the people’s attention and impressed them so much that they were instilled with fear and eventually lead to the war in Iraq.
Moreover, by obtaining people’s attention through the use of “buzz” words news stations draw more views, which in turn allows them to get higher ratings and make profit. News stations make profit by selling airtime to commercials, so a news station with a lot of viewers will make a great quantity of money. Therefore, “buzz” words are used more now than ever before because using them allows news stations to instill fear and gather more viewers which amounts to more profit.
When people watch the news they tend to trust the information they are getting because many people are lazy to go searching for information on their own, as a result the news seems real and authentic but in reality the news merely provides biased information. The news provides one-sided information because it is in the news stations best interest to do so; being biased allows news stations to attract specific types of viewers.
By attracting a specific type of viewer it allows news stations to push a distinct viewpoint. For example, Fox news is a conservative media outlet that attracts conservatives, while MSNBC is liberal media outlet that attracts liberals. They each have their different point of view but they cater to people who have the same view as them. Therefore, when people watch the news on one of these networks they shall only be informed on one side of the argument.
This also shows something about the viewers; it shows that the viewers only watch specific news networks in order to reinforce their side of the argument. Every human has their own one-sided view when it comes to specific subjects, so in order to prove that their view is right to individuals they have to reinforce their biased view in some way and that way is through the news (Eveland).
For example, when a person thinks of a Muslim they usually think of a person who is a terrorist and from the Middle East. Their belief on what a Muslim person is was reinforced by the news coverage on 9/11. This gave many people biased views on what type of people are terrorists; the news coverage gave Americans the false perception that all Muslim people must be terrorists that hail from the Middle East.
Therefore, most of the biased views that come from the news can be attributed to the viewer’s self-centered ideology that they have to be right because the news intention is only to give viewers what they want to hear. In essence, the daily news that is shown is always biased because different media outlets want to attract and give specific viewers what they want. News stations have created restricted boundaries so that people don’t searching for information outside of them.
One must first ask what are those restricted boundaries?
These restricted boundaries are the information that is not shown to the public. National governments hold many secrets and if they were to be exposed by the news to the citizens many of them would feel betrayed.
If people could not trust their government they would most likely rebel so in order to keep their trust the government works behind the scenes controlling what is shown on the news. Many governments do this by regulating the media through the use of money by either fining the news companies or allowing them to be tax exempt.
Therefore the news can be used to keep people under control and manipulate them. For example, the media coverage on the 9/11 terrorist attacks was used to manipulate American citizens to go to war with Iraq even though Iraq had nothing do with it. President Bush’s administration manipulated “evidence” on the news so that he could get Americans citizens to agree with him to invade Iraq (Hutchinson). Everyone in America at that time was so focused on revenge that no one dared question the information that was provided on the news.
At that time it was a restricted boundary to question whether the war in Iraq was just; everyone just assumed it was justifiable after what had happened. It was not until many years later that Americans went outside the restricted boundary to uncover the truth about why they had invaded Iraq.
The news was and continues to be manipulated so that people never search for information outside of restricted boundaries because what they might find may not be what they were shown. The news original intention was to inform the public and provide accurate information. It has changed drastically through the use of news sensationalism.
Negative images are now shown so constantly in a continual loop that humans have become attracted to them, which in turn, has helped people cope with their current living situations. “Buzz” words have also gone on the rise because they have enticed more viewers, which have helped news stations instill fear into people and make more profit.
Information on the news has now become biased in order to cater to certain types of people because viewers now only want to reinforce that they are right and justified in their opinions. Restricted boundaries have also been created by the news so that viewers do not go searching for information outside of them because many people may find out that they have been manipulated in some way by the news that was presented to them. To sum it up, the daily news that is presented now is not what it used to be; it is now a tool used by media outlets to distort the truth.