The Impact of News on People’s Perceptions of the World
In this essay, I will critically assess the claim that "news does not serve the purpose of people's enlightenment, but rather the purpose of providing them with entertainment and strengthening their irrational prejudices". I will do so by looking at the issue of news access and source power from a sociological perspective. In particular, I will make use of the culturalist paradigm to explain how the media and popular culture play a role in shaping our perceptions of the world.
2. Access to news and source power
It is important to note that people have different levels of access to news. Some people have more access than others, and this is often determined by factors such as social class, race, and gender. Furthermore, those who have more access to news also have more power when it comes to deciding what news is worth reporting. This is because they are the ones who control the media outlets and therefore have the ability to determine what stories get told and how they are told.
This power imbalance can be seen in the way that news is often presented in a biased or one-sided manner. For example, many news stories are focused on crime and violence, even though these things make up a small minority of events that actually happen in society. This is because stories about crime and violence are more likely to sell newspapers or get people to watch the news than stories about other topics. The result is that people are exposed to an inaccurate portrayal of reality, which can lead them to develop irrational fears and prejudices.
3. The culturalist paradigm
The culturalist paradigm provides a useful framework for understanding how our perceptions of the world are shaped by the media and popular culture. According to this approach, our beliefs and values are largely influenced by the messages that we receive from these sources. For example, we are more likely to believe that crime is a serious problem if we see it being reported on television or in movies than if we read about it in a book. This is because television and movies are more immediate and visual than books, and therefore have a greater impact on our emotions and thoughts.
The culturalist paradigm can also help us to understand why people often have irrational fears and prejudices. This is because the media often presents a distorted view of reality, which can lead people to believe things that are not actually true. For example, many people believe that immigrants are criminals even though studies have shown that they are no more likely to commit crimes than native-born citizens. This is because the media often portrays immigrants as dangerous or threatening, which creates an inaccurate impression of them in people's minds.
In conclusion, the claim that "news does not serve the purpose of people's enlightenment, but rather the purpose of providing them with entertainment and strengthening their irrational prejudices" is largely accurate. This is because people have different levels of access to news, and those who have more access also have more power when it comes to deciding what news is worth reporting. As a result, the media often presents a distorted view of reality, which can lead people to develop irrational fears and prejudices.