Monday, May 2, 2011

Political Propaganda in the Media and Conclusion

Is this just a Typo?
Mainstream media and politics are interrelated. Some television, newspapers and radio stations are labeled as either left wing or right wing advocates. There are still a handful of sensitive issues in this country that are argued along political lines. Examples are abortion, gun control, taxes and racism. Both the GOP and the Democratic Party vehemently claim to oppose racism and discrimination but there are still factions in both camps that indulge in racism and discrimination towards minorities, females and homosexuals. Public opinion suggests MSNBC is the democratic media and Fox news is the media of the GOP. Both stations tend to focus on issues that demonize their opposition party.

The election of Barack Obama as the President of the United States was definitely a game changer in race relations. Blacks have been and still continue to be portrayed as sub species in this country but the emergence and election of an eloquent African American politician shocked many racist individuals in this country. Politics is a nasty game therefore I expect the opposition to constantly criticize the president but I think they cross the line when they start to covertly attack the president on racial issues. Covertly racist individuals like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck use their programs to create propaganda that questions the presidents patriotism and loyalty simply because he is not white. Every single president of this country has been a male Caucasian and none of them had their citizenship or beliefs on democracy questioned but Barack Obama has been labeled a socialist and an opponent of democracy and capitalism.

Donald Trump led a recent campaign by birthers who strongly believed the president was not born in the sate of Hawaii even though his birth was announced in local newspapers in Hawaii. This campaign attracted a lot of attention from all media outlets and a recent poll showed a significant of Americans believed the president was not born on American soil. Would there be the questions about the president’s citizenship if he were white? I truly doubt people would even raise questions about a white president’s citizenship. Barack Obama recently released a full birth certificate to extinguish these rumors but now Donald Trump is calling for the release of his academic records because him and other prejudice people believe he was not smart enough to be accepted into Harvard law school but rather he was a beneficiary of Affirmative action. Affirmative action is a federal program used by schools and employers to help promote diversity by accepting a number of minorities. This controversial program has been scrutinized by white America because they claim its reverse racism but I believe after 400 years of slavery and suppression of minority groups, programs like these are required to even the playing field. Questioning his academic records echoes stereotypes such as Blacks are not as smart as whites or Asians. Mainstream media is picking up on this issue and there will be some sects of the population who will believe this theory. This is a never-ending cycle; mainstream media initiates a ridiculous propaganda or rumor that has racial undertones and then some unstable sensitive individuals pick it up and promote racism and discrimination

Affirmative action has been called as reverse racism


The power of the modern mainstream media is enormous. They influence almost every aspect of our lives. They tell us what to eat, how to look and even what to buy. I am not against the media or what they represent. This is a capitalist and mainstream media generates a great amount of income that supports our economy. On the other hand, racism and discrimination still exists and the media has and continues to contribute to the rising incidents of racist events and discrimination against minorities, females and homosexuals. The media can alter and eradicate the prejudice white America has towards certain ethnic groups by eliminating all the negative stereotypes and representations they feed to the public. Fair reporting on minority issues can also help reduce racism rather than predetermined bias portrayal of minorities that tends to enforce stereotypes. Politics will be politics but the media can resist the blunt hate rhetoric some politicians have in their messages. Lack of support and recognition for inappropriate racist messages by the media will ultimately promote a peaceful and loving society.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Demography and Mainstream Media

The level of attention a group/person attracts from the media somehow depends
on the ethnicity and status. Americans are obsessed with celebrities and their
Lifestyle. Celebrities attract almost all the attention from the media because that is
what the public is desperate to hear. Mainstream media tends to focus on the
negativity and instability that exists in ethnic communities. The crime rates in minority communities are obviously higher due to higher unemployment rates and the appalling conditions but the media focuses on the crimes that are committed by blacks and Hispanics. The issue of illegal immigration comes up anytime an undocumented worker is arrested for a crime. By doing this, the media encourages animosity and hatred towards immigrants and also instills fear in the public. The hard work that these people are made to do for lower than minimum wages are ignored; instead the media sometimes blames them for the current status of the economy.By constantly showing this to their audience, it enforces stereotypes against minorities. In the video below, ABC news shows the response the public has towards a black man and a white man committing a similar crime.The white offender receives very little confrontation and even makes it away with the bike but the black guy is immediately confronted and the by standers call the police.

The middle class and upper middle class tend to also get more attention from the media. Historically crimes that have white middle class a the victims tend to spark a media frenzy. Such cases stay on TV until the case is solved if possible. A very good example is the case of JonBennet Ramsey. The unfortunate murder of this adorable little girl shocked America and received extensive media coverage. Although this case is still unsolved, it still received a great amount of media coverage 10 years after the incident when a mentally unstable man confessed to the murder. John Karr was later released when his DNA did not match the one that was found on the scene.

The media is capable of influencing public opinion. They have the power to tell America what to believe, who to hate and even what to care about. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


The number of people who use the television as a source of entertainment easily outnumbers the number of people who use it as a primary source of news. The success of a TV station depends heavily on ratings. Television stations with the most ratings have entertainment shows that appeal to a wide spectrum of their audience. Entertainment shows include reality shows, game shows, sitcoms and drama series. Our addiction to shows meaningless shows like Jersey shore, Teen Mom and Real world has made MTV and VH1 the most viewed networks.

Sex sells in America. Advertising moguls have adopted this method to promote products like GODADDY.COM by using almost naked images of famous stars like Danica Patrick.
Using racy images of females to market products widens the gender inequality gap that already exists in society. It also limits the capability of women in society. Moreover shows like The Bachelor and the music videos constantly degrade women by depicting them as sex objects.

There are also shows on TV that promote minority groups as being ignorant, lazy and promiscuous. One thing comes to mind when I think about the Flavor of Love show on VH1, and that is ignorance. Some televisions shows about black people promote buffoonery and illiteracy in the black community. I was a big fan of the Chappelle show but there is no doubts that show was very stereotypical and sometimes even racist. Even though a black comedian hosted the show, the producers and writes of the show regularly supplied him with racial jokes. Despite the shows huge success, Dave Chappelle had enough of the racism he was being made to feed to the public so he walked away from a multimillion-dollar contract. Using a person of color, as a vessel for racial jokes in the media is very common in mainstream media and by doing so, some people find it acceptable to make racial jokes. Others also make judgments about based on the stereotypes they see on TV.

Mainstream media has a huge influence on race relations in this country. Lack of diversity in some parts of the country causes white people in such places to resort to the media for information about minorities. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Headlines Game

In a world where the newspapers business is declining at an alarming rate, an effective way of getting the public to pick newspapers or clicking on a link is by having a captivating headline. Like most of America, I fall for this technique too. We tend to skip boring and simple headlines that do not grab our attention. The headlines that readers usually skip are the ones that summarize the whole article in the headlines.
This is the type of headline that i would NOT be interested in because I can predict the whole content of the article

On the other hand, we fall for attention seeking headlines that tells a quarter of the story. A story doesn’t have to be necessarily important but a catchy headline will attract a lot of attention. The media is aware of our weaknesses and exploit it in extreme ways by printing such headlines in bold on the front page.
This headline grabs my attention because it tis about a sensitive issue and Jimmy Cater's words were taken out of context  

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this technique because its principle for a business to make profit. The only issue is when there is a bias against some ethnic groups in our society. Outside sports, most of the press time that minorities receive is often for negative acts. The mainstream media concentrates on stories that depicts minorities in a negative way. Progress has definitely been made when it comes to race relations in this country but also we cannot overlook the fact that a solid amount of bigotry and prejudice still exists amongst us. Remnants of the people who opposed the civil rights movement still exist and promote racism and division among people. A typical example of this media bias was very evident in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina. The devastation made life conditions merely unbearable therefore both black and whites resorted to looting abandoned grocery stores for food and water. Unfortunately, the media singled out black as looters and white people as finders. Even though America is the most diverse country on this planet, there are certain expectations that are set for minorities in this country. The media plays to these social expectations by demonizing minority groups and by doing so, they maintain the existing social hierarchy. A constant portrayal of a state of instability and chaos among minority groups also promotes prejudice and racism.   
A headline blaming blacks for the increase in social vices and also enforcing stereotypes. 

Thursday, March 31, 2011


According to the Constitution of the Land, the President, Congress and the Judicial system is the most powerful entity in the union. Thanks to technology, a greater and more influential entity known as the Mass Media has emerged. The primary function of the media was to report news and also to entertain the public. The new Mass Media consists of television stations, radio stations, and most importantly the Internet. The combination of these giant bodies allows the general public to have around the clock access to news, sports and entertainment. Comparable to other powerful and influential things in society, there is a lack of checks and balances in the mass media industry, which leads to the abuse of power. Individuals and groups who deem necessary to sometimes blatantly promote racism and discrimination for political or financial reasons mostly control the Mass Media. The first amendment is what sets the United States apart from other countries but sometimes the Mass Media uses its influence to represent minorities and women in a degrading manner.

News organizations are very aware that Headlines are all that matter in this present world. A large number of newsreaders proceed to read the entire article depending on how catchy the headline is. There is a bias in the media when reporting on different ethnic groups in our society. 
Headlines from a AP during the aftermath of hurricane Katrina showing the bias in reporting 

We live a world where entertainment shows like Jersey Shore and have higher ratings than even the election coverage. TV stations play to this appeal by depicting certain people in a stereotypical way or any means possible to boost revenue.

Flava Flav had a reality TV show on VH1 to pick a single girlfriend from a group of 20 females

The media gives different levels of attention on issues based on demography, social class or status and also the victim or perpetrator. The media is quick to make judgments on some issues depending on who is involved.

Some media outlets are mainly involved in promoting propaganda for certain political parties and also to create or enforce a negative image for specific groups or individuals for their audience.
This is an anti-Obama comparing him to socialist Adolph Hitler