Lately, there have been a lot of wars as the media as they fight for what they would like to call media freedom. However, when granted the long fought for freedom, there seems to be abuse of the same. A responsible media is very necessary not only for the economic development of a country but also an establishment of strong socio cultural relationships among diverse people groups.
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An unfortunate thing is that the media is not using this opportunity to develop the otherwise would be harmonious relationship between people of different gender, races, ethnicity and socio economic status. Seemingly the tactics used in their communication have been so poor since they tend to incline mind frames to bias. The media has not been responsible in its reporting.
McPhail (2002) discusses the theory of dialogic coherence and this could be applied by the media in ensuring that the relationships between different groups of citizens are not strayed further. In this theory, communication is said to be a tool that can be used to effectively as a discursive strategic tool.
In this, McPhail (2002) is of the opinion that differences can be minimized and the commonalities emphasized. In reporting for example the media can state that even in the difference that does exist between persons, God created them all for complimentary purposes. A commonality here is that God created all for a reason and they all need each other.
The theory of incognizant racism on the other hand shows that the media report differentially on people of color as opposed to the whites and Hispanics. Blacks mostly appeared in accidents, whether events, and disasters before and after the Katrina disaster. The minority reporters on the other hand were not interested in reporting on issues of the dominant group.
The unfortunate thing is that the media is working to aggravate the differences more than it is working to limit the differences that prevail. For example the photos that are taken and reported by the media are having a big impact on the various groups’ people involved. Most photos by the media are unfortunately showing Africa Americans as very excited people and this has an emotional impact on the African Americans watching the news.
On the other hand the Asians are presented to be the very calm type (Oh & Katz, 2010). Of course not all the Africans are very excited neither are all the Asians very calm. However with this, the people groups find their live being affected by such reporting in the photographs. In passing out communication in the photos, the media should try limit on the extremes and bring out humanity as having more similarities than differences. This will help to improve harmonious coexistence.
Gender issues and age differences are also aggravated by the media. Women brought out by the media as happy while the young as sad (Rodgers Kenix & Thorson, 2007). The media has been noted to play a role in the framing of emotional meaning and the construction thereof of different groups of people. This in the end aggravates the differences that exist.
Accuracy in media reporting has been brought to question. This especially relates to the Asian community and the picture portrayed of them. The quality of the coverage of Asian American community does not improve with the increase in their population.
Tell me, if every evening you were to watch your people group depicted in the negative; do you not see that you will be affected in terms of your perception? There is an increase in the number of stories about the Asians but their quality is not affected if not worsened. The quality of lives of the Asian Americans seems to be aggravated more and more instead of being improved.
An argument is brought out by the media that in protecting their readership, viewer-ship and listener-ship and in essence their profits, they have to depict the majority whites in a positive light as opposed to the other groups (Owens, 2008). Now this is what I call irresponsibility in reporting.
Research also shows that editors of color are rarely found in media houses across the states. In as much as the non-European Americans are over 34 % of the American population; only 13 percent or less form editors and senior positions of media reporting. Consequently, there have been lots of misrepresentations on persons of color. They are mostly seen in tragedies, hunger, war, crimes and accidents. The Asian community on the other hand has faced a lot of under representation
African Americans have been noted to be in a state of double consciousness in their lives. The feeling of two-ness in this people group seems like it won’t go away. The media have depicted irresponsibility on reporting on this people group by using oppositional discourse which has the impact of essentializing differences.
This has resulted in emphasizing on the social cultural and racial differences that prevail. Martin Luther served the best example of minimizing the differences that exist between the African Americans and the whites. This he did by the use of constructive yet inclusive human symbolism.
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The news has also been most prominent in stereotyping the African Americans. Racial attitudes and perceptions are unfortunately nurtured by the exposure to the news and media. What the African Americans are depicted to be like directly affects the treatment they receive from the whites (Dixon 2005).
Exposure to network news has seen to depress the African American incomes. The pronouncement that African Americans are poor and intimidating is not doing any good to improve the welfare of the relationships between the blacks and European Americans.
This has equally been linked to higher scores in racism that prevail. Notably, whites dominated news coverage with over 90% being white news. Better still reporters, CEOs are reported to be European American while the minority groups featured as private individuals or poverty stricken people.
The media needs to use communication intelligence as suggested by McPhail (2002). In this way, they will be able to maintain the populations who are inclined to them while minimizing the essential differences between the different ages, sex and races.
In conclusion, there needs to be a fair representation by the media of the different groups that exist. There needs to be shift from the most favored demographic group to a fair representation. Racial prejudice has been fueled so much by the way in which the media has been reporting. Blue collar roles have been delegated to the blacks by the media.
The media is a very sensitive tool in influencing the way that people think act and perceive others. According to Anderson, Baxter and Cissna (2004) by the use dialogic coherence, the media can mitigate the differences by applying intelligence in the trajectory of the news brought out. Statements should be edited by persons of different groups to minimize the chance that some groups would feel pained.
Owens, L. (2008). The Howard Journal of CommunicationsNetwork News: The Role of Race in Source Selection and Story Topic. North Carolina: Routlegde Taylor & Francis Group.
Dixon, T (2005). Network News and Racial Beliefs: Exploring the Connection between National Television News Exposure and Stereotypical Perceptions of African Americans. Journal of Communication. 321-337.
Oh, D. & Katz, M. Covering Asian America: A Content Analysis Examining Asian American Community Size and Its Relationship to Major Newspapers’ Coverage’, Howard Journal of Communications, 20: 3, 222 — 241 Retrieved from Web on 14th March 2010.
Rodgers, S., Kenix, L. & Thorson, E. (2007). Stereotypical Portrayals of Emotionality in News Photos. Mass communication & society, 10(1), 119–138.
McPhail, M. (2002). Dessentializing difference: Transformative Visions in Contemporary Black Thought. TheHowardJournal of Communications, 13:77-95.Taylor & Francis.