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To What Extent Can the Media Shape Public Perceptions and Emotions?

16 December 2017

Though the impact of mass media on public perceptions and emotions is widely recognized, a few people recognize the farfetched degree to which this occurs. In our daily lives, we are constantly bombarded with information provided by the media. This is done either directly, through television, radio, newspapers and the Internet, or indirectly, through friends and colleagues. Unfortunately, most of the time, the information presented to the public is neither credible nor impartial. Thus, our society, as a whole, has grown quite vulnerable to the media’s facts, blindly tending to believe one outlet’s version of events over another more credible outlet.
The first reading unit entitled “Language and Mass Media” has fundamentally changed the way in which we, 12IP students, perceive the effects of the media on public opinion. Throughout our learning journey, we were exposed to a variety of fruitful learning experiences, such as watching videos and news segments, reading and analyzing articles, examining images, responding to images and videos through presentations, participating in classroom discussions, writing reflections and essays, and designing newspaper tabloids. We critically analyzed how the media might blatantly distort critical facts and omit vital stories to manipulate the way people think and feel.
We read various newspaper articles from different websites and examined how each one reported the same event differently. At the same time, we watched introductions of evening news from different TV channels and analyzed how editors implement certain techniques like emotive language in order to convey the information. We also examined how editors in newspapers tend to crop and edit some pictures in order to distort the real stories to achieve certain purposes.
Since language plays a massive role in the media, we analyzed the linguistic devices, such as emotive language and euphemisms used by media to reflect the biased views and beliefs of the elite who control media resources. Through our performance task of designing a tabloid, we were able to see how the tone, mood, and content fit into a medium of information to grab the reader’s attention without the need to provide trustworthy information in return.
Upon recognizing the function of the media in society and its bias, we’ve become media literate members of the community. We’ve learned to be critics of the displayed information so that we can effectively interpret what we watch and read through the media. Without the enhancement of our critical thinking skills towards the media, we might have continued to be totally affected and controlled by what we watch, read or listen to just like millions of people around the world!

Grade 12 IP Learners
Revised by: Amani Soussi- 12 IP English Language Teacher