chapter  11
18 Pages

Mass Media Manipulation

The mass media constitute a crucial site for the construction of social reality, an ever-unfolding discursive locale that deeply influences public opinion on social issues and significantly delimits societal assumptions and public moods. As such, in the contemporary era, the mass media play an important role carving the course of history. Historian Rodger Streitmatter (1997, 2, emphasis in original) has observed, "As the news media report and comment on the events of the day, they wield enormous influence on those events." He concludes that "news media have shaped American history. Absolutely. Boldly. Proudly. Fervently. Profoundly" (234). Reinforcing a central point, Murray Edelman adds, "The concepts and categorizations that language constructs are therefore not instruments of expression but potent creators of what we accept as reality" (2001, 113, emphasis added). Accordingly, mass-media coverage or a lack thereof influences the nature, form, and development of social movements, as well as the ability of these movements to reach their goals (Kielbowicz and Scherer 1986, 72).