Reflections on the effects of the Media

All day today, the news will be showing clips of a horrific flashback.  I know if the world could take back those images, and purge our memories of those graphic events, we would.  The news will show those images, will play the accompanying audio, and will ask us to submit our views of the events.  This morning, Boeing airlines released a commercial, not to encourage us to purchase anything but rather, to remind us that we must move forward, together:

While reading Carey’s ‘Cultural Approach to Communication,’ I was immediately struck by the way his words reflect what will happen today.  He talks at length about how the way we intake the communication forms influences our world, and often, our culture.  In my household, my parents usually watch BBC World and Pakistani Television (PTV).  Their Pakistani friends only watch PTV, even after living in the States for so long.  Here in DC, my roommates and I watched NBC this morning.  Though all three news stations will undoubtedly mirror each other in some content areas, my world is coloured more by the American perspective than my parents’.  To Carey, this analysis would make sense; he would probably say that we are intentionally creating those boundaries by adhering to our respective communication channels.

In my media writing course, we reflected on the coverage of the media in regards to 9/11.  For many of us, the media is what never allowed us to forget the horrible, vivid images.  Luckily, people like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are still around. It’s their unshaking belief in Muslims around the world that reminds me that not all non-Muslims hate us so, even though some awful people claimed they were following the beliefs of Islam. At 0:41 of this video2, Colbert shows the fallacy in blind hatred.  And yet, sometimes, comedic support is not enough.  After the horribly tragic events of 9/11, I remember watching, in horror, as some jackasses on Fox News talked about how terrible all Muslims are, and how they all planned this as some conspiracy.  Well, I would never have conspired to such an act, and absolutely no member of my mosque would, either.  We are Americans first, and Muslims second.


– Tara


3 thoughts on “Reflections on the effects of the Media

  1. Hi Tara,

    I think your post is really interesting. The media coverage of 9/11 was overwhelming for me as well. For one thing, I think most of us who lived through the events would agree that a tragedy of that nature is impossible to forget. Reminders aren’t necessary. What struck me about your post is that I wrote a similar thing in my exercise in Media Writing, except I focused on coverage of the 10th anniversary. Showing those images calls up so many emotions. I think it’s natural for people to feel anger while watching the coverage and reliving 9/11. Unfortunately and unfairly, people usually want someone to blame their anger on, and they turn to Muslims. This prevents us from moving on as a country.

    I was wondering if there was something particular about the mainstream news outets’ coverage (other than the Fox News example you gave) that concerned you? Or do you think any type of coverage would have had the same effect?

  2. Tara – You raise some very interesting points in your post, especially about your parents watching PTV. My parents also obtain their news from multiple news outlets, including Iranian news outlets (inside and outside of the country). Yet just like your parents, mine also get their information from different sources; they listen to NPR religiously. I think its really important for people to choose a variety of news outlets to obtain information. I also think it allows a person to broaden his/her perspective, especially on an international scale. I’m a firm believer that people should weed through some of the news instead of being “fed” news. And after our readings last week (the case study on Reuters and Voice of America), its important to reflect on the news we receive and really look into where we are obtaining our news.

    On another note, you included Jon Steward and Stephen Colbert in your post, both of whom I respect very much. What’s interesting about them, especially Stewart, is that he does not consider himself a journalist or news reporter. “I’m a comedian first,” Steward said in a recent interview with Fox News:

    What’s even more intriguing is that many still consider him to be a news reporter. What do you think?

  3. Hi Gabby, I think that many news outlets could have “gone there” and blamed people right away, but actually–I was really impressed others didn’t. I remember specifically CNN and BBC were very particular and careful that they did NOT blame Muslims, and they tried to be choosy with their wording. Fatemah, I’ve seen that quote! (I actually did a paper on the Rally for Sanity and Fear last semester while I was in DC, so I “studied” them both a lot…I say studied in quotes because it was so much fun!) But yes, I ABSOLUTELY do. In many ways, I don’t think I’d be interested in getting to understand the news if it weren’t for comedians. But I definitely do understand that some people only get their news from him, and he’s definitely has repeated, time and time again, that people should NOT just do that because then they won’t understand. Overall, though I think he makes his news in such a way that it is palatable and completely entertaining so it’s hard to mandate that others look to other news sources, too! ~Tara

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