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How the media creates a process of reduction

October 1, 2013

The media talks about different people regularly. The people in the media though are often reduced to facts or even lies of what they did and certain aspects of them. The media creates frames. Within these frames, we form certain opinions about subjects without a complete view.

The frames of the media

There is a certain event which happens, and if it is extraordinarily enough, the media will intervene. The media will inform the public about the event in order to provide information, which is one of our rights in a democratic society. Well, not exactly. The media inform us, because it is possible to influence people with the way and perspective in which you provide the information. Providing information with a certain perspective is of course necessary, because you are providing information in a certain culture and some kinds of information can shock people or it can be regarded as inappropriate, because the information is clashing with the culture. A good example is how western culture is regarded in the Middle East, there is a clash of information, because the thinking patterns aren’t accostomed to the new kind of thinking. There first needs to be a filter, which is providing the knowledge to people that information without frames is information from all perspectives. Information from all perspectives is the possibly most objective information which you can obtain about a certain subject. However, you always need to keep in mind that your own experience can be the most objective way to receive information, because the information is not distorted. If information is provided by an extern source like a newspaper or a magazine, you will always get distortion, because the individual experience of other people with other ideas is interfering with the information which you receive. Although they may write as objective as possible, their choice of words will always influence the way in which the information is interpreted. Objective information doesn’t exist, because every kind of use of words will influence the interpretation of a fact or event.


Reduction because of subjectivity

al jazeera english newsroom

al jazeera english newsroom 

The consequence of providing limited sources of information is giving a reduction to information interpretation. Even a translation of an Arabic or Persian newspaper won’t provide the other perspective, because the translation will influence the text and what it is like. One of the reasons why the Quran can’t be translated according to muslims is because the text is not the same anymore in another language, they are actually right about that, because the translation of a text in another language will always have the consequence of a text being changed, since another language is another world-view thus a different interpretation.

One of the reasons of the conflicts between the Western World and the Middle East is because in both our worlds we are providing limited sources of information. If in the western world there would be offered more perspectives from Arabic and other Islamic countries and in Islamic countries there would be more and broader sources of western news (which is there already in a limited way), there would be less conflicts, because you give comprehension to people about the perspectives of other people.

Media and religion

Especially regarding religion there can be very subjective views in the media. One of the consequences of secularization is how a lot of institutions and tools of the state need to be in the condition of a seperation between religion and state, but another consequence is that you won’t get objective views because of limited perspectives. Like the philosopher Daniel Dennet says, instead of offering children just christian views in school, like creationism, you should offer kids different religious views too like islam, buddhism and hinduism and let them choose themselves. This implicates that we should change our ideas a little if we think that it’s good to just offer sources from a christian or an atheist perspective (,which means offering no religious views). We need to let people choose themselves and develop themselves by showing them that there is more in the world, in that way they won’t just experience the diversity which exists in our world, but they will also get used to the fact that their own perspective is not necessarily the only perspective or the right perspective. People may hate christianity because of statements of certain christian fundamentalists, or people might hate islam because of individuals who are terrorists, but that is actually a view from a certain perspective, because it is only focusing on certain elements within the group and it doesn’t offer a perspective which shows the group as a whole. This limits our possibilities to reach a new and higher perspective which will lead to a higher level of comprehension.

This will cause a problem though, because the media is focused on important events and facts and because it needs to because of a limitation in what can be offered, it is often hard to offer an objective perspective. Offering an objective perspective would also lessen the possibilities to profile yourself as an organisation, because you need to distinguish yourself from other organisations which offer the same product. This means that if companies would choose to offer different perspectives, they would have to choose another thing in which they can distinguish themselves. But what? The choice of words maybe, but that would imply again that the perspectives would change. Maybe in their name, but that will also create another perspective. That is the problem and this problem means that news should be probably provided within one news organ which offers all perspectives. The reason why it doesn’t happen is because most people aren’t able to distinguish between the different views and they don’t know which news source is reliable anymore. The best way to provide this objective perspective is probably by offering an extra media source which contains information of all different news sources.


Why debate is the most important aspect

If different perspectives are offered, debates will be the most important aspect of it. Debates will lead to new insights and also gives chance to new and other perspectives to be formed. It would be interesting for instance to watch debates between muslims and christians and have these debates coming more into mainstream media. Or another example is receiving an objective view of how people in the islamic world perceive 9-11, because we are often too much focused on our own perspective, but that won’t help to prevent another attack which is harmful to everyone in the end, even to the terrorists.



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