Wednesday, December 15, 2010

How the media affects how people think

I found an interesting article that sums up the basics on what influence the media has on people's views.

Although people do often tend to think their opinions are formed by themselves, the reality is that choices made by media organizations, such as the cues they offer their viewers or readers and the voices they give the chance to comment on a story, affects the perception of the story among readers or viewers. This effect is particularly big when the viewer or reader has low or no information about the issue he or she is consuming media information about.

Whenever we evaluate issues that are relatively new on the media agenda, we take into use our values and the views we have had of similar issues in the past. If we are strongly in favor of freedom of speech, for example, it makes sense that our opinions will likely favor any organization that releases documents that may or may not endanger someone. If we have previously cared primarily for security, however, the chance is that we evaluate the similar case differently. Research shows that the stronger our values are, the bigger the chance is that we will be negative to any argument that is not corresponding with our values. If we have less strongly developed values, the chances are much higher that the media narrative will affect our views.

Read the entire story here.

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