In modern times, the media plays a significant role in our lives, which is displayed in a plethora of forms. These include television, newspapers, radio and many more. Mass media is all around us, from our own homes to school, our workplace and even the places we visit. It endeavors to shape public opinion on a variety of things and is where most people receive their daily news and information. It also attempts to manipulate the values we have inculcated from our parents and society, thus taking away from our overall personality, to an extent. Human minds are quite tender and impressionable, which is why our attitude, decisions, behavior and desires are partly based off what the media tells us to do. Therefore, I believe mass media has an immense influence on human minds by using various forms of persuasion, such as advertising and media propaganda.
In my opinion, advertising is the main and most effective method of conveying a message to a vast audience. It is designed to convince the general public to buy the company’s product, and they practice this tactic to achieve specific marketing objectives. Companies also use celebrities to endorse their product which makes it more recognizable and popular. People tend to react in a more positive way to something that is being sold by a well-known, famous person, rather than one featuring… common people. Recently, I bought a branded dress that was endorsed by the famous Indian actress, Katrina Kaif. I purchased it because it looked so appealing on her in the advertisements, that I wanted to look as good as her. Personally, the dress didn’t look as good on me as I thought it would, and it turned out to be a waste of my money. However, this necessarily doesn’t happen every time. Sometimes buying the product results in happiness and satisfaction. This just shows how influential advertisements are even for the smallest, simplest decisions we make every day, like what to buy or wear.
Advertisements also trigger the emotional side of the public by appealing to feelings. For instance, a life insurance advertisement. In one ad which I find touching, a husband loses his job and wife, and his son is autistic. He faces hardships, like not being able to send his son to an autism-specific school. As the ad concludes, it’s shown that the father and his son are laughing and having enjoyable moments together, all thanks to Birla Sun Life Insurance. This advertisement moves the audience and even persuades them to purchase this insurance to give them and their family a sense of security and hope.
The daily outbreak of media and advertising persuade the public to be similar, instead of allowing them to function as humans who follow their own beliefs. A prime example of this, especially in today’s time in age, is that parents teach their children that smoking is immoral, yet certain commercials depict the rich and glamorous smoking. This severely impacts the thinking of young minds, as now they too would want to be seen as a superior figure in society. This image becomes so enticing, with the fancy cars and lavish houses, that people tend to overlook the horrible consequences. Once again, this effectively proves my point and shows how the media tries to interfere with the morals we’ve learned before, causing major conflict with ourselves and the people we love in our lives.
Public opinion is shaped through media propaganda. Propaganda unconsciously causes the public to act in ways they would never choose to and believe certain things that they wouldn’t before. It is fed by the government and the media and is utilized as a strategy to persuade people’s thoughts, opinions and beliefs for their own benefit. A current example of media propaganda is taking place in North Korea. Their leader, Kim Jong Un, has released many propaganda photos to the public to show how great a person he is. His main aim is to brainwash the minds of Korean people and inform them of all the civil deeds he is doing to benefit his country. In the picture below, Kim Jong is at an orphanage, hugged by many children.
This suggests how magnanimous and kind he is. However, all this seems to be just a gimmick to have his people by his side and to think he is the noblest man alive. This can also be used as a shadow to cover up any other work he does, that he doesn’t want the public to know about.
Clearly, throughout my opinion column, I have emphasized how mass media impacts human behavior by discussing about the two points I thought were the most important, advertising and media propaganda. The media is a great tool for information, but people should not have full faith in it. It has methods of gaining the audiences trust, therefore partly controlling their minds. The audience is losing their freedom on being able to decide without second guessing or facing negative after effects. The media is supposed to notify the public about events happening around them, not to persuade the people for personal benefit. Over time, it’s becoming more of an entertainment source, rather that informing about global issues. Thankfully, newspapers and news channels exist to create awareness of current matters. Media is also manipulative by imposing one sided stories and wrong messages. As a result, many small children are behaving worse. In the end, I hope I have successfully narrated my viewpoint on this topic through my opinion column.
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