The Impact of Media on Public Opinion

The Impact of Media on Public Opinion
The Impact of Media on Public Opinion

The Impact of Media on Public Opinion

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The Impact of Media on Public Opinion

Media is regarded as the fourth estate for its role in providing information and contributing in opinion formation among its audience. Before going into details on the impact of media on public opinion, let me pose this question. Do you believe that media messages at any time have changed your perception or opinions on any issue? If it has, then it is evident that indeed media has some powers to influence.

The members of the public perceive and have their own opinions and views about certain aspects in the society. However, the media through its messages and opinions or representation of information affects the already formed opinions of the audience. The impacts of messages from media can be higher especially if the audience believes and trusts media as a credible source of information. Some of the reasons that contribute to mass media influence on the public opinion is that the media carry out its own research and report findings from the members of public on their opinions (Lazaroiu 264). Media houses such as CNN, for instance, carry out research to establish the opinions of the audience on various topics. Media furthermore, reports others research and findings as well reports on events, topics, and feelings of groups about them.

Audiences hold their own ideologies as they have distinct belief systems. Ideologies act as constraints when receiving messages from the media. They are able to interpret the messages and form their own opinions. Being able to evaluate messages from a media outlet is determined by various factors such as the interests in the message and the level of education or rather literacy levels (Lazaroiu 265). People with high level of education will not just take in any messages from the media but will dig deeper into the information to ascertain its credibility.

Media has the capacity to form opinions, has the power to shape patterns of feelings, thinking and reacting on certain circumstances, or events as clearly illustrated from the Vietnam War. Media through its depictions of the horrible killings in Vietnam by the American Soldiers made the American citizens to stop supporting their soldiers’ actions. The media portrayals included killings of children and people; something that was very shocking and disturbing. The focus of the Americans shifted on the human activists instead of the soldiers in the Vietnam.  On the same not, it is exhibited how negative media portrayal as well impacts on the public opinion. The media in this case affected the opinions and the views of the people through the pictures. Had the media sparingly or concealed some of the acts on ground, the American publics could have not relinquished their support to their soldiers in the USA. Therefore, from the media portrays USA lost in terms of politics and social arena.

Media, through its gatekeepers such as editors, makes the decision on what information the public receives. Such messages or information may influence or override the opinions of the members of the public. The media, therefore, sets the agenda on the issues the members of the public deliberate and discuss on (Lazaroiu 264). For instance, if the gatekeepers decided to concentrate on a specific kind of news, for example, terrorists attack, the members of the public will believe in the messages the media transmits to them. For instance, if the media reports that an attack is carried out by Al-Qaida, members of the public will believe in the information as long as the media keeps on repeating and reporting on the issue even if another terror group carried the attack. This, therefore, means that, media is powerful in influencing the opinion through its framing and that is why it is important that before any information is broadcast or reported to the public, enough evidence is gathered to ensure credibility and as well to upholster the image of the media in the public eye.

Media has the potential of influencing political elections unfairly. Many people that relay on media for accurate information can be mislead to hold contrary position based on information that is not factual. To indicate the sincerity in this argument arose when World Net Daily cautioned members of the public to be vigilant not to be keen in the presidential lection because media had the capability of shaping opinion through skewing the polls.

Media also influences the audience or public opinions as it drives consumers to develop certain consumption/purchasing habits through adverts and promotion of goods and services. People that access to media adverts are highly persuaded to change their purchasing behaviors, as they believe that information transmitted through media is true. Large corporations therefore spend colossal sums of money to run their adverts to accrue high profits from the increased sale of their products after advertisement. A good example is Two and a Half Men show that stared Charlie Sheem who received huge sums of money. The company CBS earned colossal amounts of money in its first quarter courtesy of the show. This therefore, indicates the capability of media to influence the public opinion

In conclusion, the media has a greater potential of influencing the public opinion either negatively or positively. Many people do believe that media messages are true, hence, they believe in the same as illustrated from various events such as Vietnam War and in presidential elections among many others. However, it is important for the public to interrogate media messages they receive to ensure that they are credible and true. This will ensure that they remain objective and sincere.

Work Cited

Lazaroiu, George. Media concentration, digital communication networks, and the impact of new media on the news environment.  Economics, Management & Financial Markets, 5.2(2010): 264-272. Print.

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