Sample Essay on Impact of the News Media on Own Life

Impact of the News Media on Own Life

News media broadcasts emotional content that can adversely \affects the psychological well-being of viewers by altering mood, affecting thinking, and influencing a change of behavior. I have watched the government utilize major media outlets to communicate biased information and propaganda and observed a lot of misreporting of major events in the country. Indeed, to a large extent, the media has failed to report current happenings accurately. The news media has affected me negatively as it has caused me anxiety, sadness, and anger on several occasions. Indeed, this platform has failed to perform its role effectively, thus negatively affecting the audience in various ways.

I consume a lot of news presented through the TV because I want to stay the barest of current events. However, in the process, I am exposed to content that causes me sadness and anxiety. For example, videos and pictures of dead people are usually quite disturbing, even when the bodies are covered. Besides, the broadcasters often discuss a negative angle of a story without considering the emotions of viewers; it is likely to elicit (Davey, 2012). I believe that they do so to draw the emotions of the viewers, which is against the impartiality and objectivity codes of journalism.

I have learned and identified several ideological biases by broadcast media. One notable example is polling. The political class usually uses the media to broadcast inaccurate opinion polls to shape the perceptions and views of voters. Per Budak, Goel, & Rao (2016), the main intention of doing so is to sway voters towards certain politicians and against others. This is a major bias that continues to affect how people make decisions regarding politicians to elect. Even in the upcoming election, biased opinion polls are likely to mislead voters. I agree with the peer, who concluded that polling shifts emotions and opinions. Opinion polls broadcasted over the TV influenced how I voted both at the federal and state levels before I realized that they were biased. Indeed, polling is an integral component in political processes, but I am uncomfortable with how pollsters have taken advantage of the naivety of the voters to sway their decisions. The discussion has reinforced my opinion of opinion polls. As such, going forward, I will continue to probe and investigate the credibility of some of the pollsters.

I believe that the TV broadcast has too much impact on the culture, government, and politics for it to be careless with reporting, yet it continues to misrepresent the truth. For example, the media often uses race undertones when it reports some incidents.  For example, when the broadcast media reports killings caused by shooting involving Blacks and Whites, they make the incidents seem like they are fuelled by race, even when they are not. Indeed, just because people of different races are involved in an altercation, it does not necessarily mean that race is the contributing factor. Moreover, the plethora of political influences is a major concern for me. I see a lot of politics involving Democrats and Republicans and the different views they envisage. TV broadcast has failed to educate and accurately inform the public about major political statements made by politicians. As a result, the American population is divided along party lines and what they stand for politically (Sidlow & Henschen, 2017). It is imperative for substantive reporting to be adopted to ensure that the media does not negatively impact society.

Objectivity of the media has evolved and it implies that new media should help in providing information without bias and assist media consumers to interpret major issues of the day. In my opinion, the suggestion of analysts that media should be objective is not realistic. In many instances, the media has failed to test and verify the information. In the United States, news reporting is informed by ideologies. Harrison (2017) claims that political polarization is the reason why Americans believe that the media is no longer objective. For example, in the run-up to the 2016 election, media outlets like CNN predicted Hillary Clinton’s win with a huge margin, however, that did not happen as Donald Trump won the elections. Profoundly, the election exposed the media as an institution that fails the objectivity test of neutrality. In addition, the editorial endorsements and fact-checking by Washington Post’s editors were seen as mere ideologies.

Cultural ideology dictates news content today.  Today, journalists are driven to present catchy stories to use in building brands. As a result, the news media fails to use transparent evidence to interrogate investigative stories. Thus, the news content is affected by misreporting, thus undermining the accuracy of information. For example, Sky News, in November 2019, presented a story about the identity of a stowaway who fell from a plane and died in London. The media outlet later pulled down the story from its websites claiming that the conclusions were mistaken and had wrongly identified the victim. Driven by cultural ideology, Sky News sought to find out why Kenya Airport authorities avoided the stowaway story.

News media has failed to perform its role of reporting objectively and impartially, thus has caused viewers some problems. The media has allowed itself to be used by politicians to mislead the public and has propelled some stereotypes, including race-based ones. I intend to continue to interrogate the objectiveness of news articles and broadcasts and make an informed judgment before making a decision.

References

Budak, C., Goel, S. & Rao, M. (2016). Fair and balanced? Quantifying media bias through

crowdsourced content analysis. Public Opinion Quarterly, Vol. 80, Special Issue, p. 250–271.

Davey, G. (2012). The psychological effects of TV news. Psychology Today. Retrieved from

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/why-we-worry/201206/the-psychological-effects-tv-news.

Harrison, A. (2017). Can you trust the mainstream media? The Guardian. Retrieved from

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2017/aug/06/can-you-trust-mainstream-media

Sidlow, E. & Henschen, B. (2017). GOVT, 8th edition. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.