Monday, 12 December 2011

Mainstream Media Making Viewers More Uninformed

The holiday season has seen an increase in people going shopping, but are people aware of the happenings around them? In a recent study viewers of Fox news were less informed than the people who didn't watch the news. Should people pay less attention on shopping and more on current events? Chris Chambers, journalism professor at Georgetown University, helps us analyze what's going on.

[Posted at the SpookyWeather blog, December 12th, 2011.]

1 comment:

steven andresen said...


You make it seem that people would be better citizens if they knew more. What does this mean. Are they better citizens able to make voting decisions if they know about civil unrest in Greece, for example?

I don't think the American people need to know much more about civil unrest here or there. They know that there is civil unrest. They know that the United States government is likely at the bottom of it. They know that they no longer live in a democracy where the people have any control over what the government does. So, they know pretty much all they need to know about Greece, and it is the same everywhere about most instances of civil unrest.

It's like they are on a plane taken over by fanatics heading for New York in September. There's not much they can do even if they knew more.

You also suggest that we should expect something else from our media than what they are giving us. I have long thought that their purpose is to sell widgets. They will therefore not tell you anything that might stop you from or slow up your buying widgets. Say they found out the world was going to be hit by a Texas sized asteroid, a civilization ending event. I doubt that they would tell anyone about it because they would want people to be shopping up until the last moment.

This is why the media is so bad on providing context to the news. An informed population would be a population that would think about a lot of things other than shopping and they therefore can't have that.

Actually, making people more uninformed is not the fault of the media. Do we blame the shoppers and advertising on buses for the fact that people are uninformed. This is what your headline suggests. This gets it wrong. We need to blame the people for not informing themselves. Of course they aren't going to get an understanding of the world and what our government is doing in it, or what our corporations are doing to it, by watching the media. The media is there only to encourage one to shop.