Ohhh the media…sweet, sweet media!
Where do we start? Media is MASSIVE, HUGE….and really INFLUENTIAL!
The media covers a range of factors; i.e. social networks such as Facebook, twitter, also print media (Herald Sun, The Age, etc), TV media (Channel 9 news, Channel 7 news) and so on. Main point is, in this day and age the media has expanded and developed in ways people wouldn’t have imagined.
Unfortunately, since the media has grown too fast in the last few years, it now plays a major role in our lives, to the point where some of us believe, Every. single . Thing.
This is why I did some research of my own and brainstormed 6 of the most common myths about the media that you may have overlooked!
So let’s begin!
- Reporters tell the whole story
If you think reporters on TV, or in the newspaper are telling the whole story….you’re wrong. Truth is, they don’t even know the full story themselves. Especially when it’s a big story to cover, such as the Lindt café raid. All that is on their mind is to get some sort of coverage of the story and upload it as fast as possible online, as well as ‘reporting live’ from the scene. Unfortunately a lot of the time they get vital facts wrong, which leads to the “Backfire Effect.” This is when the wrong facts increase ratings making people believe the incorrect story more than the previous story. This occurs from reporters receiving their raw information from multiple sources, eventually leading to a “mix up”
- “This story is Exclusive!”
We’ve all heard on Channel 7 or Channel 9, “Exclusive interview!” being repeated about 100 times throughout the week until the day actually comes for them to show the interview. Both channels would be talking about the same interview, but it becomes “who can hype it up the best” competition. However, the scenario that would have taken place, is the Prime Minister for example, offers a one-on-one interview with each of these channels and most likely these reporters would have asked fairly similar questions with some differing from the other broadcasting channels. Therefore it’s no longer exclusive, if you’re listening to similar information twice or three times.
- “We don’t produce bias news”
Each broadcasting channel has there own bias, and they’re wrong if they say they’re not bias. Some particular channels such as FoxNews have become known for covering news with a political bias. That doesn’t go to say that people can’t have their own opinions on their shows, as long as their audience know not to rely on their information. For example commentators such as Bill O’Reilly from FoxNews or Rachel Madow from MSNBC, talk about their own opinion and should not be heard as real/supported “facts.”
Another popular bias is the race of people involved in the incident. Usually there are double standards when reporting on a crime related story. For example people of colour, or people from certain religions or nationalities are referred to as “super-predators” and many other stereotypical words. However, criminals who commit “white-collar” crimes are seen as having a “psychological” problem. It doesn’t seem to be unbiased news reporting.
- If there are Eyewitnesses it means the story is true
A lot of the times, in order to get a story reported on very quickly, reporters/journalists will speak to anyone they see related to the crime; which means their sources aren’t completely perfect. In fact a lot of their eyewitnesses don’t even know what happened at the scene. For example the case of CNN’s reporting of the 2012 Boston Bombings; they reported the arrest of a suspect two days before it actually happened. This is due to unreliable witnesses and rushed reporting. It is not entirely the reporter’s fault, eyewitnesses aren’t trained observers, in a moment of spotlight and adrenaline they may say anything and sound so certain about so they can make it into the news story.
- “News reports and articles are true because they’re made by educated people who check their sources”
This is similar to the point above; articles you read aren’t always sourced correctly. It’s a bunch of journalists who are running around like headless chooks, trying to get a story out so they can make their boss happy. In fact another story to support this myth is the case of mistaken identity in 2014, regarding the (late) Numan Haider shooting at Endeavour hills. Fairfax media unfortunately placed the wrong photo of Numan Haider on the front page of the Sydney Morning Herald, Canberra times and The Age, with headlines saying “Teenage Terrorist.” This led to accusing an innocent man who had no connection with Numan Haider. This case, as well as several others, just proves how unreliable our daily dose of news can be, and if this doesn’t make you think twice about the information provided in the newspaper today then I’m not really sure what will.
- “I’m an expert…I’ve done a study”
Nowadays anyone is an “expert”, anyone is able to write anything and claim it true because they’ve “tested it.” These people can be found posting on Facebook, twitter, blog sites (no, it does not include me… I don’t count) and so on. Unfortunately since we are so invested in social media we tend to be very lenient when it comes to our sources of information. It’s not our problem that we are bombarded left, right and centre by so many “EXPERTS” who have done “RESEARCH”, that we sometimes can’t tell the difference. No, I’m not saying we’re stupid, but it’s a common mistake, especially for those who do not know much about the particular issue or field, such as health, nutrition, science and so on. If we don’t have a lot of knowledge about that particular field, it’s obvious that we’re not going to know fact from false. Unfortunately in early 2014 when Ebola was an international issue, a Nigerian student sent out a message on social media claiming to drink excessive amounts of salt water to avoid catching the Ebola virus. The message had gone so viral, that it even reached the Minister of Health. “Please ensure that you and your family and all your neighbours bath with hot water and salt before daybreak today because of Ebola virus which is spreading through the air” as well as to drink salt water; is what the Nigerian student had sent out. Sounds legitimate right? Especially if you don’t know the science of salt water in your body, because that can lead to a dangerous increase in blood pressure. This was however, just a social prank, which led to two dying because of excessive consumption of salt water, as well as 20 more hospitalised in August 2014.
From this case alone, we can see how influenced people are by social media, and how we can tend to overlook certain information and stories we read, very easily.
finallythat is the end of this post for the week, it was longer than I expected it to be, and if you read till the end comment down below and let me know, give it a big thumbs up, share it around with family and friends or even follow this blog post to receive email updates whenever I post! Whatever floats your boat really!
I really hope I’ve helped you become more aware of what you read, hear or see when it comes to your daily dose of news.
Until then keep smiling, enjoy the rest of your week, and I’ll see you all back here next Wednesday!
“A lie can travel halfway around the world before the truth can get its boots on”- Mark Twain