The fast paced world in which we live requires us to be up-to-date with the most recent news and celebrity gossip. While it is important to stay informed of events occurring around us, it is also imperative that we are able to separate fact from fiction. The media is notorious for its distortion of the truth. It has the power to make or break a person’s reputation, as well as the ability to suppress selected information.
One of the most well known examples of media distortion is Taylor Swift’s current image. This talented and charismatic singer has long been the target of verbal abuse; she is constantly portrayed as a serial dater. Even if it may be true that she has had numerous boyfriends, it isn’t fair to her that the media broadcasts her personal life more than her professional life. The media is always publicizing her newest relationship and calling her names instead of discussing her most recent songs. In Blank Space, currently the number one song, Taylor sings about her negative image as the media portrays it. Her dating history is more well known than her major accomplishments — all thanks to the media.
Besides damaging an artist’s reputation, the media has also managed to ignore major issues. The extremely popular book and movie series, The Hunger Games, features a society in which there is an oppressive government and children kill each other to feed their communities. Although both the books and movies are wonderfully made, they present a disturbing and dehumanizing setting. Regardless of this, the media still manages to focus on an irrelevant aspect of the series: the romantic drama that the main character encounters. It’s all “Team Peeta or Team Gale?” and not “Don’t you think there is something severely wrong with children being forced into murdering each other for a game?” The Hunger Games may be presenting an underlying message about the government or mass homicide, but this potential message is being suppressed by the media.
The infamous media also makes an appearance in the classic allegory Animal Farm by George Orwell. The character Squealer is a pig who represents the media. He is portrayed as having the ability to “turn black into white”, which symbolizes the media’s effect on society. Unfortunately, when we see something on television, most of us don’t question it. This gives the media a great amount of control over our thoughts and opinions. In the novel, Squealer manipulates language to get the other animals to believe what he wants them to believe, and it is hardly ever the truth. In fact, his name is Squealer to reflect his dishonest nature. This accurately represents the role of the media in our society today.
By now, it should be clear that we can’t always rely on the gossip magazines or what appears on television. While there may be an iota of truth to what is being broadcasted, most of the information is spurious and modified to fit the wants of the media. We must learn to take news with a pinch of salt and not base our judgements solely on what we read or see. Once we start to think for ourselves, we can battle the effects of media distortion.