How do media affect public opinion - Essay Example

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Name Subject Date How do media affect public opinion? Introduction Nowadays we can see a total influence of mass media on the forming of public opinion. Majority of people from their own experience know how difficult it is to get off watching so-called “zombie-box”…
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Download file to see previous pages So let’s take a look at a few concepts of affecting public opinion by media. The term "public opinion" (English public opinion) first was applied in the second half of XII century. English statesman Lord Salisbury used it for definition of moral support of the country for acts of parliament. Gradually the term became common. Public opinion represents a specific manifestation of mass consciousness, based on the estimates (verbal and nonverbal) of social processes and it characterizes the attitude of people to socially significant events and facts, actual problems of social life (Gorodyanenko, pp.308). According to the concept of total influence, public opinion is formed mostly under the considerable influence of mass media information, circulated by communicative channels. Such kind of information largely defines social values and forms stereotypes and cultural dominants in society. Propaganda motives can help form dominants in the society (Gorodyanenko, pp.325-326). Such approach to the media leads to the disjunction of society on masses and elite, and the masses is influenced by the elite, despite of being the largest part of it. Elite’s priority is the obtrusion of its standards and values. The elite is much more active object of the structure of society, it determines the value system, cultural and social objects, what helps the elite to subordinate the masses. The concept of the “mass society” leads us to the perception of necessary changes in the social values, because propagation of the simplified cultural dominants causes the reduction of the common cultural level (Gorodyanenko, pp.327-328). On the other side, there is a concept of limited effects. It’s main idea is that media is not the sufficient impact factor in forming of the public opinion; it is not able to provide the total changes of attitudes and beliefs of individuals and groups. The audience of the media varies on its views on life, and, accordingly, the obtained information. Distinct layers and individuals differ much and react differently on what they are told or what they see. But media can cause the unpredictable consequences of their affecting the public, because a man is not a passive recipient of information, but a generator of ideas based on the received information. Pursuant to the concept of limited effects, media is considered to be separated and independent of the authorities. It is a social institute and a spreader of the information, almost free of the external pressure, and its job is only to inform the public, but not to manipulate it. Personally I do not agree with that point of view, so let’s explore in details the mechanisms of TV’s influence, because today it is the most powerful media tool that affects people’s consciousness. Impact on adults Foremost, it’s a political impact. Electioneering makes a strong pressure on the public opinion. Hundreds of promises of political leaders repeated many times gradually do their job because, in spite of his social status or financial situation, a man will always be an optimist. So he would rather vote for the person, who often appears on TV, takes part in different debates and embodies potential though ephemeral desired possibility of living. Also it is important to state that today there is a dominance of the TV-shows and their popularity increases continuously. However, the depicted image of reality in these shows does not always coincide ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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