Whichever way one looks at, media can activate the engagement of people and it can act as a catalyst for initiating the dialogue processes between various school of thoughts. Pluralistic media can play an important role in informing the citizens and ensuring the flow of rightful information. That can result in the empowerment of citizens in democratic processes, and resultantly citizens can acquire the skills preventing unwanted misuse of people by various organizations or groups.
Polarized media is merely informing people through framed information. Elites are using media in order to shape the opinions of citizens in their favor. Fox News favored Donald Trump’s throughout his tenure. In other way, Fox News sugar coated all the trump policies so that they can manufacture the consent of people in his favor. A renowned newspaper, guardian entitled the FOX news bias towards former USA president Donald Trump as “Love Affair between Trump and Fox news”.
Fox news has wide range of readers from various socio-economic group so they have the power to alter the beliefs of audiences.
Power and Money
Power and money tends to filter out the news being disseminated on various platforms. Media organizations are driven by the capital. Stake holders have their own business interests and do not let them go against their interests. Many of them own hefty number of shares in arms producing companies as well like Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and General Dynamics. Their horizon is not just limited to arms production but they also own significant amount of shares in media companies like Time Warner, Disney, News Corp and Comcast, 4 out of 6 media corporates in USA.
Business as usual
Since BlackRock, Inc. and The Vanguard, Inc. are into weapons industry so withdrawal of USA from Afghanistan was a loss for such companies. See the report of Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) entitled as “Business as usual“. It identified top seven American arms production companies out of top 10 in world. These are U.S Federal contractors including Boeing, Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin. This signifies that withdrawal of USA from Afghanistan was a loss for such companies and their shareholders as they were big beneficiaries of the war.
They expressed their outrage after the withdrawal of USA from Afghanistan by publishing articles against it, blaming Joe Biden. The Times published an article criticising the withdrawal from Afghanistan with the headline “Joe Biden’s Botched withdrawal“. On the other hand NBC, ABC, CBS and fox followed the footsteps of ‘The Times’.
Criticism was coming from the sources, which were backed by BlackRock, Inc. and The Vanguard, Inc, the companies shareholders of Time Warner, Disney, News Corp and Comcast. They went to extreme lengths to gather public support against withdrawal but they failed to convince big fishes that run USA. However, they became successful in decreasing the popularity of Joe Biden among people. This clearly indicates that Noam Chomsky was right in saying that
“He who controls the media controls the minds of public”
Media as a Fifth estate
It is important that we understand that media can empower the citizens by sticking to its basic code of ethics, which is the reason why media was bestowed with the title of being a ‘Fifth Estate’. People around the globe have to buy believes sold by mainstream media as people lack information about the hidden agenda of some firms. People can only be empowered, when they comprehend the rightful meaning of media messages.
Media must utilize its power in order to educate citizens so that they can critically understand the messages given to them through media. If media fulfils its educational role then ultimately people will acquire the skills of decoding the media messages effectively. When people identify wrong practices in any society, they tend to stand against them, which causes people actively participate in both local and international dialogues. This will bring permanent positive changes in the society.
‘Black lives matters’ hashtag trended on all the social media platforms after the death of African American, George Floyed in the police custody.
People not only on the social media started to raise voices against the racial discrimination but it also resulted in protests against the racial discrimination and many influencers, celebrities and politicians around the world started to talk about racial discrimination and this hashtag started the international debate on racial discrimination. Anger of people against the racial discrimination resulted in the toppling of statue of Christopher Columbus and President Jefferson Davis because of their association with slavery and colonialism.
Black lives matter hashtag also effected many brands i.e. Fair & Lovely, skin whitening cosmetic product of Unilever, British-Dutch multinational consumer goods company changed the name of Fair & Lovely to Glow & Lovely and they started to advertise Glow & Lovely because it effected the purchase of product as people started to accuse the brand of promoting racism. Media never refused to advertise such product despite it faced backlash online because advertisement is a source of stability or one can say O2 for any media organization.
Empowerment via access to rightful info
Emergence of social media platforms is indeed a blessing as it has given voice to the opinions of people. This has empowered public partially but not completely as media outlets despite having presence online are catering the interests of elites. This deciphers the reality that people are not fully empowered and the utmost means of empowering public is through flow of rightful information, which must not be filtered by bunch of elite interests. As empowerment of people is directly proportional to the access to rightful information.
Please read my another article on media.