By Spencer C.
Webster’s Dictionary defines media literacy as, “a repertoire of competencies that enable people to analyze, evaluate, and create messages in a wide variety of media modes, genres, and forms.” This type of literary understanding is dependent on the given individual and the content delivered. However, in the realm of U.S. news, there is no set standard, no control of a foundation on which to grow a stable, singular news structure. Instead, there are numerous news stations that go by their own agenda. This type of agenda is not made by citizens, nor is it uniform with the rest, with such a variety of news stations, government or state funding is out of the question. Unlike the BBC, which is state owned and managed, US news stations are privately owned and ran according to the given corporations ideals, which in term means that even in a free country, the news delivered is filtered to some extent, thus rendering the consumer of that given network to begin to develop a sense of inclination and create a prepositioned mindset based upon a biased information, which inadvertently manipulates and distorts ones own media literacy; “ABC is owned by Disney, Fox is owned by News Corporation, CBS is owned by Viacom, and NBC is owned by General Electric.” (Maurice Bedard). It is this reason that inconsistencies and variations occur in the news within this nation. The bias nature of news in the United States creates a false sense of thorough media literacy and has caused an obstacle for the growth of the nation.
Even at this day in age, it seems that mental barriers are still dividing this nation: religion, sexual orientation and political organizations. Instead of providing news to the masses, networks, and their corporate “sponsors” deliver information based upon their own beliefs. However, due to the large amount of financing from the corporations, the news quickly becomes one sided. For example, if a Jewish individual, with no affiliation with any given political party is flipping though news stations and stopped on Fox News to hear Anne Coulter say that “Jews need to be "perfected" by becoming Christians, and that America would be better off if everyone were Christian,” the percentage of that given individual returning to that station would not be high. People tend to favor one news network from which they return to view and base their own political knowledge upon due to the fact that the material being broadcasted correlates to the given individual’s beliefs and position. Not only does this further solidify the barriers within this nation, it also shapes the consumers understating to become one sided on current events and it contrives a false sense of understanding within the viewer.
A biased mindset towards media literacy, or rather illiteracy begins before watching or reading any material. In fact, as consumers have offspring, the favorable content inadvertently shapes the mind of the offspring; creating a predisposition towards a given side. In terms of an election, which directly reflects the political position of an individual, the “hereditary voter” terminology is used to define a voter who votes the same as their family. Four out of five voters are described as a “hereditary voter,” as shown in the Berelson et al experiment (Bernard Berelson, Voting). In addition to the one sided media, the chances of someone going astray from their families beliefs is a rarity. Unknowingly to the individual, his or her beliefs are started by the influence of their family, and then are “educated” by the media to further fit the given description. The youth of the United States are being manipulated to fit into a given mold, which is the media. As they age, the mold only serves to further allow the individual to ultimately have the same beliefs and ideal set as the head of the corporations; which is their conclusive goal.
The news’ main objective is to deliver unobstructed material to the viewer. Unfortunately, the variants in news stations lack unity as a whole. While The United States is a democratic nation, the media, gets to interpret and deliver the information to cater to the beliefs of the proprietor. It has become much harder to receive unbiased news. Due to this issue, the consumers’ lack a thorough understanding, or unbiased understanding, on current events has caused and increased the barrier between republicans and democrats.
The bias nature of news in the United States creates a false sense of thorough media literacy and has caused an obstacle for the growth of the nation. The media needs to end the one sided, politically based corporate managed foundation. This country is the people’s country and currently, the large corporations have brainwashed the consumers to think like they do, instead of thinking for themselves. The amount of biased media literacy has caused this nation to unconsciously go against their political adversary, causing a divide, rather than unity within this nation. In a time of economic turmoil, this is no better occasion to rethink and redesign the media as a whole. This is the time to come together to rebuild flawed system. Not only will that create unimpaired unified media literacy for all, it will also allow the nation to thrive unimpeded.
Guskin, Emily, and Tom Rosenstiel. "Network News: The Pace of Change Accelerates | State of the Media." State of the Media. N.p., n.d
Bedard, Maurice. "Thread: Who Owns Fox News?" Loan Safe. N.p., n.d.
Bartels, Larry M. "The Study of Electoral Behavior." Princeton.edu. Princeton University, n.d. Web.
Berelson, Bernard R. Voting. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print