by David Whelan
The media has grown to be the most powerful tool of influence in today's society due to its ever increasing power of persuasion, deception and unique ability to entice people into a certain frame of mind. Without being to insulting to the media obsessed world, we as a society are susceptable to the mass opinions that operate world politics and sociology and by looking at a media outlet we are inclined to become a member of the major ideological ways of thinking and media has the control to do this whether it is deliberate or accidental remains to be seen.
The media world spreads through society at an alarming rate and news can be transversed along the way resulting in an opinion of the incident and not an account. Just to but a famous quote into perspective by the great writer, Homer, author of The Oddysey who wrote in this work "Rumour is the fastest spreading disease of all". Without realising it, Homer sumed up the then future implications of the media.
Interestingly, the media has long being associated with political intervention and used as an outlet for power implementations. An example of this includes the Irish Press founded by Eamonn De Valera in the 1920's. De Valera was a prominent member of Irish politics focusing on the ideologies of the Fianna Fail party and the Irish Press served as an outlet for Fianna Fial opinions. The Irish press continued to do so until its demise in 1995.
But papers only act as an appetiser of influence as their are far more powerful medians in the world to inclinate an opinion on any given subjects. The most obvious of these medians is the ever popular television which has grown in stature to replace the paper and radio in the media world. The television offers a visual representation of what is going on but this can be manipulated by theatricals and technical coverage of the subject. Choice of locations and camera angles can present different opinions on a subject depicting the directors point of view. This is fine for cinematic productions but for the news coverage it is opinionated and controlled by T.V. company executives. News can be chosen by the powers that be resulting in selected coverage and not required knowledge.
Tools used in the influencing of people by the media include the deployance of Semiotics which comprises of semantics, syntactics, and pragmatics. Semiotics is the study of signs and symbols and when I refer to signs, I vaguely mention the scope of signs. These can include facial expressions drawn by the presenter to manipulatre the public. This may not be preferable by the presenter but required by the powers that be to get across the networks point of view on a particular issue. This is what the media does, it manipulates the public into a certain way of thinking and besides the text based content of the article or the camera positioning, semiotics is a unique tool for manipulation. But we believe it because we have no reason to disbelieve, we ahve no reason to doubt that an incident happened but we can doubt the spin on it created by the media.
In certain stories their can only really be one outlook on the issue but when it comes to politically related news stories, then thats where the media spin-doctoring begins and while I'm on the subject of spin doctors, high powered personnel regularly employ spin doctors to manufacture on angle on scandle as so to speak. Its all part of the world of Public Relations designed to separate the private agenda and the public perception. Its just a fact of life that we have come to accept from the media world. Everystory is spinned to create the best outlook. An article relating to a news issue regarding peace talks in the North will be given a different outlook on R.T.E. than it would be on B.B.C. because they represent different points of view based on different religions and nationalies. Body language or semiotics can reflect this in live feeds of reporting on television.