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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Media - Helping You Understand

Alright, this time we're going to look at the average media consumer. The average media consumer rarely has first hand news of the events that occur in society. The average media consumer usually gets his/her own information from media entities through news programs, newspapers, the radio etc. Now, consider removing the media entirely and leaving behind the average media consumer which we will now dub as your average reasonable person. Let's assume for the moment that this person has first hand access to these events, can literally be there and know every single event happening. To be quite honest, I wouldn't expect that person to understand what the hell was going on in each and every situation that he/she monitors unless that person happened to be personally knowledgeable about the context of the situation.

The Agenda Setting comes from the premise taken by Walter Lippman who talks about how the public perceives events through "pictures in their heads" which he calls a pseudoenvironment. He states this because the real world, in all its complexity, subtlety, hugeness, and variety is too much for a person to process information individually and convert into any useful form. In effect, the media finds a market by providing a broken down, simpler, and more manageable idea of current events so we may find how they apply into our lives.

Take for example the video below about the Daily Show with John Stuart, a satirical show, takes on the issue of an Intellectual Property Rights lawsuit involving Viacom and YouTube.

video

Here you find the topic of IPR much more simplified (and at the same time satirized) by the show and it enables the general public to have an understanding of the parties concerned in the issue. While the media is not always the best source of information out there, we cannot deny its usefulness to us all. The important thing is, we should always learn to be critical of the media that we consume and not become blind followers or simply take information at face value.

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