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How Does Manipulation Of Language In The Media (Print, Online, Television, Etc.) Affect The Way People Behave?

1720 words - 7 pages

How does manipulation of language in the media (print, online, television, etc.) affect the way people behave?Instruments of mass media play a very significant role in the lives of people; they get us information we have no means of acquiring otherwise. Through the use of print and electronic media, one can quite literally get in touch with the entire world. Marshall McLuhan, a well known entity in the world of media theory, termed media as the "the medium is the message" (mediatalk.guardian.co.uk). Language and the use of language is an integral part of the entire media network, be it a newspaper or the television.McLuhan go ones to state that the media is Hot and Cold depending on how ...view middle of the document...

This is a kind of emotional manipulation; by targeting a person's desires and wants we make him think he wants a Porsche. The other way is exceptionally subtle. A very good example of this would be propaganda that political parties and individuals unleash upon society which can ignite hate and at times even the opposite. Statements such as "all Muslims are terrorists" provoke people to think about the 9/11 attacks, but such a vast generalization cannot possibly be accurate. The focus should be on the subliminal message in the media that one is missing.Hadley Cantril (1940), a professor who investigated the 1938 Orson Welles broadcast, can be taken as an example that how the mass media gain influence through trust. It refers to the great public panic during the 1930's in America when H.G. Well's began the fictitious account of a war with aliens; the entire nation was in a state of panic and shock thinking they were under attack by a great force. The "live" feeds of the Martian invasion had the vast majority fooled. It caused many to leave their homes and take to the streets, while some simple left their homes and never came back. It shows the manipulation that the radio has over the masses. It also shows that people in general are ready to accept as true whatever they are informed. It was apparent that because of the routine manipulation of the medium on the public, the radio broadcasts persuaded people to believe they were in fact really being attacked. (Corner: 2000: 385).In particular this was a very good example of the "Hypodermic Syringe Model", a hypothesis which basically claims that instruments of mass media are very effective in influencing their audience and capable of "injecting" ideas and behaviors directly into rather inert audiences of isolated individuals. Cohen (1965) was of the view that media such as the newspaper and television can provoke 'moral panics' by taking a very minute and inconsequential event and reporting it as a great problem.If we look at the war on terrorism we can see subliminal messaging there too. In fact it is almost exactly the same as the previous Gulf war. The language used there had a sharp contrast concerning both sides that were at war. It has been noted through many transmissions of the war zone, that the American soldiers are always "friends", "protectors", "helpers", where as the enemy was "heartless", "barbaric", "cowardly", so on and so forth. By using such a distinction for the two sides, it a very subtle way the media is building up favor for the American troops and at the same time promoting anti Middle Eastern sentiments.This in a way is an example of how the government uses the media to forward its own propaganda in order to get a political benefit and win over the public through the manipulation of language. The ruling government stereotypes the opposition, providing unity for the masses and thereby enhancing their own political plans.Mass media in America are no more than corporate tools....

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