Media Manipulation: A Growing Threat to National Safety

My name is Mitchell, and I am here to introduce my "You in the World" project. The “You in the World” project is an effort to gain an interest in a world issue, and educate others about said issue. While research is an important part of the project, the main goal is to educate others about your issue, in order to make a change for the better. You will attempt to broadcast your research and ideas to a wider audience than just the classroom.

The media is thought of as a way of getting news, current events, and facts to everyone, so that everyone can know what is going on in the world. Now, however, media is being used as a tool. No longer is the news essential fact. We have come to a time when the news is used to control people into supporting political views, or persuade them into buying unnecessary goods.

Almost all of our major news sources fall under one of six companies: The Wall Street Journal and all of the Fox news channels fall under Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation. ABC is owned by Disney. All CBS groups fall under the CBS corporation. NBC, all of its subdivisions, and the Weather Channel are all under NBC Universal. Even Time Inc, the publisher of Time magazine and several other magazines, such as People, is owned by Time Warner.

These corporations own publishers, newspapers, news channels, entertainment channels, and even news websites. Now, you may be thinking: What could be so bad about this. Why should we care about who owns these stations? It doesn’t affect what gets to us, does it? The problem is, it does. We live in a world of what Ryan Holiday, head of marketing for American Apparel, calls “media manipulation” a skill in which he is a master. Media manipulation is a way for companies and government agencies to exaggerate stories and make things better or worse than they really are.

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Veracode Infographic "The Story That Destroyed a 168 Year Old Newspaper"

Think about the applications of this so called “media manipulation”. The government can use it to spread support for candidates, or to spread negative propaganda about their opponents. Companies can use it to spread advertisement for a product, so that it is almost constantly on peoples minds. Media manipulation can be spread like wildfire because of the synergy between the corrupt news agencies and the internet blogosphere. Ryan states that “Today, with our blog and web driven media cycle, nothing can escape exaggeration, distortion, fabrication and simplification.” If you want uncontrolled information, you have to look on the internet. However, once you get there, you are met with a constantly growing group of blogs. With all of this open content, you are liable to come across false information. There is no practical way to fact check these blogs.
With these controlled sources of information, and these untrustworthy sources of information, you really have no way to escape the propaganda. If you do just a little bit of research, you could see that, for instance, according to The American Dream website: “Our politicians know exactly what they are doing and they have a plan for getting getting US debt under control.” whereas the truth is that “When Ronald Reagan took office, the U.S. national debt was less than one trillion dollars. Today, the U.S. national debt is over fifteen trillion dollars.” We need to find a way to stop being fooled by such outrageous media inaccuracy.
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