Media Manipulation

In Uncategorized on October 4, 2012 at 8:25 pm

Media has been a major source of receiving news for over a century.  In the last few decades, media has become even more vital for catching the latest news.  One of the issues with getting the news so efficiently is that it has turned more popular because of the fancy headings or griping details, but not for the story itself.  This has become a global issue because the stories that need to be printed and spread by the media have either been altered to appeal to the overall public, or completely cut because media corporations feel the stories will not be as interesting to the people.

The following percentages from dailysource.org, are mainly focused on Americans and their perspective on the media’s effect on global and national issues.

  • 36% of Americans believe news organizations get the facts straight
  • In a 1992 study, 23% of people found factual errors in news stories in their daily paper at least once a week, 35% see grammar mistakes in their newspaper more than once a week, and 73% if adults have become more skeptical about the accuracy of their newspaper
  • In a 1999 questionare, a group of senior journalists from around the country were asked if they ever suspected a colleague to create their own story, events, and quotes; 38% said yes
  • 80% of people believe sensational stories receive lots of news coverage simply because they are exciting, not for their level of importance
  • 48% of the public see misleading headlines in their paper more than once a week

It has been proven that the majority of Americans want to improve the environment, but they are still not given the news they want to hear.  In 2003, Dan Fagin, President of the Independent Society of Environmental Journalists responded to the people.  “Whether the subject is global climate change or local sprawl, aging power plants or newborn salmon, debating over environmental issues has never been…so obfuscated by misleading claims.  Meanwhile, getting environmental stories into print, or on the air, has never been more difficult.”  He is right.  The people want to know what is really going on in the world and are not given the complete facts or the information they really want.

As you know, the mass media takes pieces of information out of context to create the story or advertisement that will attract positive and negative attention.  United Colors of Benetton released a campaign where many world leaders were featured in edited pictures where it seems as if the leaders were kissing.  The “Unhate” campaign caused much controversy on the subject mainly because it was false advertisement.   Below are two examples of world leaders featured in the campaigns.  On the left is China’s leader Hu Jintao and U.S. President Barack Obama.  The image on the right features Pope Benedict XVI with Ahmed Muhammad Ahmed el-Tayeb.











  1. Hi there,

    I really enjoyed reading your blog post not only because statistics were well utilized and informative, but also because the topic of sensationalism is so incredibly compelling. It was quite interesting to note that a few networks in particular that are claiming to be “entertainment” are actually viewed as news by an incredibly large percentage of the American population. Although sensationalism is not a desirable component of the media, do you think that it is necessary for people to be interested in what is going on in the country? Without sensationalism would the general public be so uninterested in current events that they would forgo being informed?

    Thank you,

  2. I’m glad you enjoyed my post! I do feel that even though sensationalism can have a very negative outcome, I still think it is necessary for for people to be interested in current events in the country and the world. People want to know the full story and all the facts of the stories that have the greatest influence on people around the world. I feel that sensationalism is a major benefactor to catching the public with either controversial images or deceptive headlines. These are the parts that will make people want to hear more about the news. If there were not as eye catching articles people may not be as interested and addicted to reading a story on how “A Man was Arrested After Keeping Monkeys in His Home”, but instead these stories would be about more worldly issues such as the truth about what the true story was with the American Ambassadors in Libia.

  3. Hello!

    I agree with the fact that the news manipulates its stories to be more interesting is becoming a problem! This is also exemplified in how the news prioritizes sad or problematic stories over the happy ones. I liked your example of environmental issues because I find them very important, yet they don’t get a lot of attention in the media. The statistics that you presented definitely support these theories. However, the reasons that these stories get more attention is because they hok the readers from the title. How do you think the media should encourage people to choose articles on the election in Venezuela over the newest movie in theaters?

    Thanks for posting!

    • Hi Sydney,

      I’m so glad that you agree that the media is not handling the news; no matter what the story may be, with the proper attitude. I think that people will probably choose to read about the newest movies in theaters over the election in Venezuela because their instinct is that the election in Venezuela is not relevant to them if they are from another country and would be more interested in reading about the latest Twilight movie. The truth is, the election in Venezuela affects everyone around the world because a new leader is being chosen and that is more important and cannot be seen On Demand six months from now. I feel that if people understand that “there is no time like the present”, they will then understand that the world issues and altering decisions in politics cannot be redone or will ever stay the same. The media needs to encourage prioritizing; government and politics, no matter where in the world you may be discussing, will always be more important than a new movie in theaters.

      Thanks, Carolyn

  4. Hi Carolyn,

    Nice post!
    I thought the photoshopped pictures were really funny.

    But anyway, I tend to agree with you that the media can be misrepresenting. Taking the idea further, I tend to feel that the media is very twisted and corrupt. Modern media tends to pick and choose what stories it represents, and if it does not benefit the large corporations and the government’s ego, there is not funding for true information.
    It seems that the media also likes to distract the nation with “problems” that are not truly what anyone should be thinking about in the least.

    It is hard to know what to believe anymore when listening to the radio or watching the news.

    Any thoughts on what one can do to find out the truth behind current events and not be hopelessly led astray by the media?



    • Hi Sawyer!

      Thanks for reading my post. I still cannot get over how the media prints or spreads the stories that will not have a huge affect on the world. I wish the media was able to show how we can help make a difference for the better with topics that are truly important. I like to read NYTimes.com and read posts from the World, U.S., Politics, Science, and Health. I like to sort through the different stories and find one that I feel would have the greatest impact on myself and the world. I feel this is how I really get an understanding for what is going on in the world. Another form of media that I feel has a positive affect is World News Tonight on ABC because the first 2 or 3 stories are usually dealing with world issues that are important to know about. The broadcast breaks down the facts and usually gives a non-bias story on what is happening around the world.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post!

      • Thanks Carolyn!
        (You definitely seem to have attracted a lot of comments.)
        One source that I really find helpful is “Democracy now”, a radiostation, but they also have a website: http://www.democracynow.org/

        I find this to be a very helpful and interesting source. (You dont have to read anything either, as it is in video format)

  5. I agree, and I believe I am not the only one. This explains why people are increasingly using social media, such as blogs or social networks, to express their opinions, spread their truth, share causes and motivate people to join it, or simply to keep up-to-date. So many people now watch the news and think ‘Is that true?’ and a lot of them just look for more points of view to collect more information and formulate their own ideas. So, the good news are: social media have waken up people, and even though manipulation persists, more people are now critical.

    • Hi Nadia!

      I’m glad you enjoyed my post. I agree that the vast and quickly spreading forms of media has become uncontrollable especially though Facebook, Twitter, and all of the different blogging sites. I agree that now that people have become more aware that the media has been talking about the not as important topics that may have interesting catch phrases and what not is not what we should be focused on. I really hope this will change for the better and people will notice that media manipulation needs to stop and have a positive effect on us in a global perspective.

  6. Hey Carolyn! Great post!! I agree with you that the media has a huge influence over the public. I also think that it has gotten worse throughout the years. In a way, media can often be just another form of gossip. Like rumors it can spread like weeds. They do not always have the right facts and information, yet their words can be heard or read throughout the world. I think that the increase of media especially now will harm the younger generations due to the fact that they have more access to media online like Facebook, blogs, and other websites. They can learn false information through the websites and continue through life believing what they have seen. Do you think that media should be restricted in any way? How do you propose the restrictions if so?

    • Hey Diane!

      Thanks for reading my post! I think that there should be a stop to the “gossip” media from spreading and the not as important stories be set to the side while the more important stories that affect the world are heard. I want to think media could be restricted to stories that are truly important and have lasting effects on us. But the truth is, media is inevitable and we cannot escape the stories that are spread. I hate to admit it, but even I find myself reading stories about “Honey Boo Boo” or tracking Prince William and Princess Kate’s marriage and life. People will always go to those stories as a way to escape all of the war and conflict in the world to focus on other people’s stories and happiness.


  7. Hi there,

    I really enjoyed how you used the statistics to reinforce the idea that the media uses false facts and manipulation to get people to read their stories. I find it interesting that many people realize that the media is lying, and yet they still continue to be influenced by what the media has to say. What is it about the media that gets people to listen to it or read it? I wonder what makes it so appealing. Do you think that people consciously choose to read certain authors or magazines or newspapers depending on their reputation, or just because of the catchy title or image that gets their attention? What strategies could reliable sources use to make it so that the majority of people want to follow that source, and get the most important stories without being swayed by their first glance?

    I’d love to hear what you think about what steps we can take to fix this problem.


    • Hi!
      I’m glad you enjoyed my post! I feel that people are attracted to the celebrities on the covers of magazines and the deceiving titles of someone having a baby bump or not wearing their wedding ring. People want to read about another person’s happiness and life. I find the articles in specific sections on NYTimes.com especially the World, U.S., Politics, Science, and Health sections. If you prefer to watch the news, I find World News Tonight on ABC a great source because the first 2 or 3 stories are usually dealing with world issues that are important to know about. The broadcast breaks down the facts and usually gives a non-bias story on what is happening around the world. Maybe if people didn’t focus on much on the title of an article as much as what the article is really talking about, they will have a better chance on finding great articles dealing with world issues.


  8. Hi!

    I really enjoyed your blog post because I think the point you are making is entirely accurate. I know that I am guilty of being drawn in by sensational stories. Without the catchy headlines, graphics, or data, we are too often willing to skip the story all together. We are in a time period where most Americans value being amused more than being informed. The power that the media wields over individuals is astounding! We rely entirely on others to tell us what is happening in the world around us because we cannot possibly see it all. News stories often lack a base is facts, however, many Americans still do not read then. How do you think we can find a balance between attracting people to read articles and telling the truth? It is also a common issue that people do not want to read of hear stories told by those with differing viewpoints from their own. How can we encourage people to listen to all sides of an argument? Great post!


  9. I found your post very interesting because it correlates directly with a post I wrote very recently about the media. Do you think misrepresentation of media is a result of the media companies trying to make their stories more exciting, and intentionally or unintentionally falsifying information in the process? If so, how can we start getting people to read articles for their informational value instead of for entertainment?

  10. Nice post! I thought the statistics you put in were very interesting. I think it is somewhat disturbing how the media so regularly alters news to make the most attractive headlines. I feel this especially prevalent now as we are getting closer to the 2012 presidential election. News outlets like CNN or FOX seem to exaggerate the news to be either more Liberal or more Republican. I feel that this is wrong because the news should at least try to present unbiased information so that the people can make their own decisions. I wonder how the media’s role in our decision making will change in the next few years.

    Thanks for a great post.


  11. Hi,

    I think your post is quite interesting. Some of the facts you mention are real eye-openers! I know that sometimes, I don’t believe the things I read, so I search for more than one source about the subject. I guess the only thing I am wondering after reading your post is what we, as consumers of information, can do so that we get less misleading information and more important information.

    This is very informative post though!

    ~ Meredith

  12. Hello,
    Great post! I thought many of the statistics were very interesting and new to me, and the post was interesting overall. You’re definitely right in that most news channels tend to overdramatize stories and leave out important, but boing stories. I also agree that I really can’t be sure how true something is when I read it in the paper or see it on the news; you kind of have to be skeptical if you want to find out what is true and what isn’t. However, this misleading and dramatization is an important part for the news channels and papers to draw in consumers, so how do you think these news companies can be more honest, but still draw in as many consumers? I’m sure its a big issue to news companies, and it is an interesting topic to consider. Thanks for the insightful post!


  13. Hey,
    I’m Giorgio Lymon a student in EDM310 at the University of South Alabama. This was a very interesting post that made me look at news from a different perspective. I agree with the news being altered to the public and some news topics are being cut because media corporations feel that the stories are not important to the public. The statistics that you pointed out were quite shocking; however, you got your information from some really reliable sources. I wonder about the important news topics that the public has not been notified about. Keep up the good work.
    Thanks for your time, Giorgio Lymon

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