Social Question

mazingerz88's avatar

Shouldn’t the news media be allowed to shape public opinion?

Asked by mazingerz88 (22181points) 3 months ago from iPhone

Didn’t we come already to a point the general public is now totally aware and able to discern what is straight news, fake news propaganda and honest opinion?

What do your think is the inevitable future as far as free press and news media are concerned?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

51 Answers

josie's avatar

The press, in the US and elsewhere, has always been used to shape public opinion.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

And that is dead fucking wrong^^ The press should only deliver the facts and events truthfully and honestly as they happen.
Sadly they do not and American news seems more bias than press from communist countries these days.
They should not grandstand, take sides, offer their opinions, let the viewer make up their own minds.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@SQUEEKY2 Read the platform of the Faux News Network.

“If it is the truth and adversely impacts the GOP, get Pixar to do a video showing to show the opposite.” J.K. not !

They all color the news but Fox just “makes it up” to shine pretty light on the GOP and bad mouths anyone else.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Believe it or not, after several years in journalism, I agree with @SQUEEKY2.
I think what we have now is yellow journalism, otherwise they do not make money and they know it.

Yellow journalism uses sensationalism and exaggeration to attract readers. It is usually not well-researched and often only tells one side of the story. It will sometimes have made-up interviews or imaginary drawings.

Yellow Journalism Examples
Spanish American War – Yellow journalism helped to push Spain and the United States into war in 1898. The Maine, a US battleship, sunk from an explosion. Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst published false articles about a plot to sink the ship, thereby increasing tensions.
Samsung and Apple court case – A story claimed that Samsung paid a $1.2 billion settlement to Apple in nickels. The story originated as comedy, but an American journalist published it as true.
Baby Snatched by Eagle – This headline grabbed attention but the accompanying video was shown to be a fake.
World War I photo – The photo shows a man in front of a firing squad and the caption said the man was an enemy spy. The photo was a fake and the photographer was actually posing as the spy. It has since been used as a photo from WWII.
Prime Minister called a traitor – ABC News reported that Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu called Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin a traitor; but, the report was false.
OJ Simpson – Live reporting of the chase and capture of Simpson sensationalized this tragic case after Simpson was accused of murdering his ex-wife.
Tiger Woods – The news media had a heyday with the story of his affairs, including interviewing sex addicts.
Heidi Fleiss – She was convicted of prostitution and tax evasion and became very well known due to the media coverage.
Botox mom – This story of a mom giving her daughter Botox and waxings to keep her looking young was a hoax. The Sun, a British tabloid, paid her $200 to say she did it.
Octamom – A former stripper gave birth to octuplets and became a media sensation.
Crazed woman chases Brad Pitt – The headline is an eye catcher but she was really just running after him to take a picture.

gorillapaws's avatar

I think the biggest way the media shapes opinion (even more so than sensationalism—which I agree is a huge problem) is simply selecting which stories they want to cover, and especially which stories they ignore. If you follow the money (advertisers and parent companies) you’ll see a lot of potentially huge stories that get completely ignored. This is the problem with having the media so concentrated, being owned by a small handful of mega corporations.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

CNN is just as bad as Fox news.

gorillapaws's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me Not true.

People who only watch Fox News are less informed than those watching no news at all

CNN isn’t much better, but it is better and there is a difference.

Dutchess_III's avatar

It is up to each individual person to decide how to allow the news affect them. Sadly there are a number of people who are as gullible as children and believe every little thing they read. If it’s in print it must be true, right?

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Yes it is, I sometimes compare both when looking at the news and each put about an equal amount of political spin on both real news and in opinion pieces. Ultimately I choose to get my news locally more than anywhere even if they just copy-paste Reuters. CNN and FOX news are indefensible, there is no journalistic integrity to them at all. That “study” does not address this, only that people who only watch FOX news may not be so smart. I don’t put much weight behind someones cliff notes from a study which may or may not be in proper context.

gorillapaws's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me “That “study” does not address this, only that people who only watch FOX news may not be so smart.”

From the article:
“Because the aim of the study was to isolate the effects of each type of news source, they then controlled for variables such as other news sources, partisanship, education and other demographic factors.”

elbanditoroso's avatar

Oh come on now, you holier-than-thou people!!

Ben Franklin, 250 years ago, owned a newspaper and wrote all sorts of political stuff to move the US towards independence.

Newspaper owners for the last 200 years have bought owned and run their papers to push one political point of view or another.

Read your history. Journalism is not pure and pristine, much as we want it to be. It has always pushed a political point of view.

Even in Canada, @Squeeky

Dutchess_III's avatar

I think they are coming under the gun to be as truthful as possible, more than at any other time in history. People today have the ability to fact check for themselves, unlike in Franklin’s day.
However, even when a particular site is proven to be disreputable some people still flock to it because what they read excites them and feeds their need to be outraged everyday.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@gorillapaws Find me the full study and I’ll read it and its sources carefully. IMO summaries of studies by media outlets are often biased and taken out of context and are no better than opinion pieces themselves.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me I just followed some links and eventually got here.

flutherother's avatar

@SQUEEKY2 I agree with you that the job of the press is to report facts so that people can make up their own minds. This doesn’t always happen in the US but it is better that the press should be free and biased than that it should be a mouthpiece for the government as happens in Communist countries.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@flutherother Wouldnt it be nice to trust sources again? No spin? A major station should use that to market itself now and take all the ratings.

filmfann's avatar

It is important that the media identify what is news and what is commentary.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I only peruse news from a few top of the line choices; ABC, NPR, Reuters, Bloomberg. If something doesn’t sound right, even if it’s from one of those trusted sources, I do some investigating of my own.

But some people WANT to be fooled. We have a hardcore right winger here who has complained in the past that he couldn’t find any right wing new sites, but why he’d want a biased site is beyond me. Further, he is convinced that reputable news sources are actually left wing news sites.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

Find me the full study and I’ll read it

If you wanted to know more you could find it yourself. You don’t like the conclusion. Demanding to be spoon-fed is an avoidance tactic.

LadyMarissa's avatar

I tend to agree with @SQUEEKY2 in that The press “should” only deliver the facts and events truthfully and honestly as they happen. However, I’ve noticed that in most of my 68 years that has NEVER been the reality!!! The military gets low on military personnel, they commission a well know production company to put out a new movie & the ranks fill rapidly. Top Gun helped to produce many fly boys. Saving Private Ryan produced many ground troops. The Navy had one too but I’ve drawn a blank on the title.

I feel it is up to the individual to use their own resources to ferret out the truth!!! I was raised that there are 3 sides to every story…their side, my side, & the truth; so, I continue to look when I feel I’m being force fed by anybody!!!

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

Edward Bernays was a nephew of Sigmund Freud and was known as the grandfather of public relations. He was responsible for it becoming acceptable for women to smoke and bacon and eggs to become a staple breakfast meal.

In 1928, he published a book called “Propaganda.” It can be found here:

It is definitely worth checking out, but if video form is better, BBC Has a documentary called
“The Century of the Self.”

The book begins with this:


THE conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.
We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society.
Our invisible governors are, in many cases, unaware of the identity of their fellow members in the inner cabinet.
They govern us by their qualities of natural leadership, their ability to supply needed ideas and by their key position in the social structure. Whatever attitude one chooses to take toward this condition, it remains a fact that in almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons—a trifling fraction of our hundred and twenty million—who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind, who harness old social forces and contrive new ways to bind and guide the world.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@Dutchess_III That is just a small poll from eight years ago and not a scientific study. 600 or some odd respondents randomly from a single geographical area is pretty sloppy. Any research based on that is garbage. This is why you can’t trust someones cliff notes of a “study.” The media will use the “it’s scientific” stamp of approval and find a garbage paper and take it even further out of context. Don’t be duped by this and FOX news does this as well as CNN and many others. Even if it was good research the CNN of 2011 was very different than the CNN of the last couple of years so it’s still comparing apples and oranges. CNN 10 years ago was somewhat respectable.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me You asked for it, I found it. I didn’t say I agreed with it. You’re welcome.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@Dutchess_III Yes thanks, I was wanting @gorillapaws to dig it up but since you did you got the response and the credit.

JLeslie's avatar

Most people cannot tell the difference between real news and fake news. They don’t bother to question or research anything. It’s traumatic for the to contemplate changing their opinion, because their opinion on politics and current events is intertwined with their work construct. They wrap it will religion and morality and justice and any changes make the whole thing crumble for people like that.

You know that saying “if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.” Every time I hear something extreme about a politician my first inclination is, is that really true? But, most people who hate that politician will feel excited! Excited they found dirt on the person. They WANT the bad thing to be true.

In other words, must people have clouded judgement and are ignorant. I’ve been guilty of it, but I try to be more objective. I try to be at least aware of it.

Should they be able to shape our views. I don’t know. I think just taking the responsibility of reporting the news honestly is enough. I guess no matter what they are selecting the stories they think are important or that others will find interesting. The media should function under the golden rule.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I don’t want the credit!! Take it back!!!

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

600 or some odd respondents randomly from a single geographical area

If you had followed the link @gorillapaws gave, you would see “In the study, 1,185 respondents nationwide”.

Hilarious smugly picking apart something you can’t be bothered to read while lecturing about superior skills sorting fact from fiction.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@Call_Me_Jay The poll apparently only had nine questions. 1,185 out of the population even random is still quite small and I was responding to the link @Dutchess_III posted. The research behind that article may have been decent. Who knows without actually seeing it. To take what was written in the article that @gorillapaws posted at face value without seeing and evaluating the actual research is like well…taking the news at face value. I don’t think any of us do that. Not trying to sound smug just making a point, one that is in line with the question posted by the OP. The little “our position is supported by science” trick the media plays on just about any political issue should be picked apart.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

Who knows without actually seeing it.

“I don’t see the information I refuse to look at!”

Nobody’s stopping you from seeing it. Third time I had to say it. The article linked to the study.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I read it, was making a larger point but even if you take it seriously (I don’t) it showed that the opposite side of the spectrum was just as uninformed (MSNBC) and it was also again…from 2012 when CNN was not as partisan as it is now.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

MSNBC and CNN aren’t inspiring Nazis to shoot up synagogues because “illegals” are marching on the US in a “caravan”. Fox news is. MSNBC and CNN aren’t the “news” source for bombers in vans covered with Trump stickers.

There’s is no left wing equivalent to Fox News. Trying to pretend otherwise is just being an apologist for right wing extremists.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

While I won’t defend fox news they’re not “inspiring Nazis” MSNBC and CNN are indeed equivalent. I’m no F’ing apologist for extremists of any kind.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

they’re not “inspiring Nazis”

The Pittsburgh shooter was enraged by the “caravan” and “globalist” talk from Trump and Fox.

And notice they immediately dropped the subject after November 6, and moved on. Manipulating conservatives is ridiculously easy.

That’s your team. You voted for it. Show some integrity and embrace it.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

“That’s your team. You voted for it. Show some integrity and embrace it”
I don’t have a team, no I did not and no, I won’t.

Dutchess_III's avatar

There are lots of hard left wing sites out there, like The Palmer Report and the Daily Kos. Most people just ignore them because many liberals have brains and think for themselves. None of the hard left sites have the backing that Fox news has, though. Probably because the conservatives want others to think for them. They want some one else to tell them how they’re supposed to feel about things.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

Fox News has been an arm of the Republican party for about two decades. There is nothing like that on the left. Sean Hannity speaks to Trump almost Daily. Trump regularly repeats whatever he sees on Fox and Friends, minutes after the broadcast.

Pretending that there is an equivalence is the typical misinformed nonsense of self-styled “centrist” independents” who are so far right they can’t even see the center.

Here are a few examples from a long, long list showing Trump parroting Fox talking points.

Fox claims “122 Gitmo prisoners re-engaged in terrorism” after release by Obama administration
51 minutes later Trump tweets “122 vicious prisoners, released by the Obama Administration from Gitmo, have returned to the battlefield”

Fox & Friends complains about late night talk show hosts
1 hour later Trump complains about late night talk show hosts

Fox & Friends says Stephen Curry wants to “skip White House visit”
31 minutes late Trump tweets Stephen Curry is not invited anymore

*Fox & Friends*says Scotland Yard was watching a terrorist but he succeeded anyway
23 minutes later Trump tweets says Scotland Yard was watching a terrorist but he succeeded anyway

Fox & Friends says James Comey “had already decided he would issue a statement exonerating Secretary Clinton” before FBI agents finished their work
23 minutes later Trump tweets “James Comey exonerated Hillary Clinton long before the investigation was over.”

Dutchess_III's avatar

^^^Our president is a moron. Oh! Did you know that Finland doesn’t have the kinds of wild fires that California has because they rake their forests a lot? It’s true. Just ask Trump.

seawulf575's avatar

I don’t believe they should be allowed to shape public opinion. That is propaganda. For the press to be the effective tool we need, they need to be honest investigators and chroniclers of our society. They need to dig into all the dirt, not just some to paint a specific picture. They are supposed to be the conscience of our government, not their propagandists.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Wow as much as I dislike your political views @seawulf575 ,I totally agree with your above answer.^^

Dutchess_III's avatar

I am going to reanswer here. I agree with @seawulf575./ If they try to influence me they are propaganda and I shelve them, and it doesn’t matter who they represent. That included liberal sites, such as The Slate, Politico and Democracy Now! are a few organizations that come to mind that I refuse to take my news from.

But @seawulf575…weren’t you complaining not long ago about the lack of uber conservative news sites, the kind you want to read?

LadyMarissa's avatar

Somebody here is on a roll today!!! ROFL

seawulf575's avatar

@Dutchess_III I would phrase it more that I was noting that there aren’t many conservative outlets. Uber is not a term I believed I used. But I have also stated that conservative bias in news is just as bad as liberal bias. I will use conservative outlets as a balance to the liberal media reports. But I typically do homework when I am learning about a news story.

Dutchess_III's avatar

” I will use conservative outlets as a balance to the liberal media reports.” Why? Two wrongs don’t make a right. They don’t make a balance. They just make more bullshit. Why not just disregard them altogether?

Here is a list of conservative outlets for you. I would disregard every single one of them, though.

The Blaze
Fox News
One America News Network
Newsmax TV

Talk radio
The Laura Ingraham Show
The Rush Limbaugh Show
The Sean Hannity Show
The Mark Levin Show
The Savage Nation
The Lars Larson Show
The Alex Jones Show

National Review
Newsmax Magazine
The American Conservative
The American Spectator
The Weekly Standard
The Washington Examiner
American Thinker

Drudge Report
The Daily Caller
The Daily Wire
Independent Journal Review
The Gateway Pundit
PJ Media
Right Side Broadcasting Network
The Federalist
The Rebel Media
The Washington Free Beacon
Free Republic
Louder with Crowder
Breitbart News Network

Michelle Malkin
Hot Air
Power Line (blog)

seawulf575's avatar

Actually, they do balance out the liberal outlets. I find stories on conservative outlets that you don’t hear about on the liberal ones, and vice versa. The conservative outlets will challenge the liberal politicians where the liberal ones don’t.
I would suggest that if you aren’t checking in on conservative websites, you are cheating yourself. You are accepting the propaganda of only one version of things. Likewise, if you are a conservative and never visit a liberal outlet, you are accepting blindly what is being tossed at you. If you can’t see that most “news” these days is opinion and slant, you need better glasses.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Any outlet that has any kind of bias is full of shit. They just make stuff up, blow things out of proportion. It’s as good intellectually as The Brother’s Grimm. WHY you want to lend any weight to any of them has me confused.

seawulf575's avatar

Unfortunately, that is how we learn things these days. If you want to find out what is going on in the world, you watch the news or surf the web. Either way, you are putting yourself into a situation where someone is slanting things. CNN, MSNBC, ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX….they all skew things. But to find out the truth of stories, or something close to the truth, you have to hear all sides of things, all the pertinent facts, and put them all through your own filter. If you are totally disregarding one side of things, you are allowing yourself to be manipulated. You are not allowing yourself to get a true version of things and are accepting propaganda as valid.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Try Reuters, BBC and NPR. There are reputable sites out there, but if you don’t want to find them you won’t. You’ll just keep clicking on the same old tired biased sites you always have.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Actually Fox is one of the most trustworthy sites out there.

Whatever they say – the opposite is true.

seawulf575's avatar

I click through a lot of different sites. BBC is one of them. NPR does okay, but they still have a pretty good slant to the left. Reuters does good and is about as close to neutral as you can get.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Then stick with those sites. If you think NPR is slanted don’t got to them for news.

Answer this question




to answer.
Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther