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The Public Sees the World not as It Is,but through the Filters of the Media - Essay Example

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The philosophical merit of the belief that the world does not access a true, centered notion of reality depends on the ability to prove the validity of the assumption that there is, in fact, no true, centered reality for humans to access or to know. If a true reality behind appearances does in fact exist, then it is meaningless to speak of it unless human beings can access its truths—the kind of objective truths that we seek when conducting science or philosophy…
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The Public Sees the World not as It Is,but through the Filters of the Media
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The Public Sees the World not as It Is,but through the Filters of the Media

The question, then, becomes—manufactured by whom? Also relevant is the question of what is being manufactured. Reality, as some thinkers would say, is what is being manufactured and is being done so by the media, which developed countries are increasingly reliant upon for information about the world. The purpose of this paper is to find examples and principles regarding how media constructs reality, with particular emphasis on the construction and imposition of gender, and how this construction interferes with the notion of a real reality. First, however, it is important to start with definitions of important terms; the first of these terms is “culture.” In saying that a culture is responsible for manufacturing truth, one is suggesting that shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices of a group are creating an integrated pattern of symbols to represent its beliefs, knowledge, and ideas. In other words, a culture is a set of shared attributes of a group, which has the capability of creating a symbolic system that represents those shared attributes. Language is the keystone example of how groups transcribe concepts and abstract ideas into symbols and signs representing its shared reality. A culture is a tool toward this social symbolic thought. Another important definition to clarify is that of media. To say that media assists in the construction of reality, one is suggesting that the tools or instruments that store and deliver information are actually responsible for giving meaning to the information they communicate. McLuhan (1964) coined the phrase “the medium is the message,” meaning that the form of a medium embeds itself in the message, creating a mutual relationship in which the medium influences how the message is perceived. As applied to gender, a message delivered by a scantily clad woman on a television about the best tasting beer is likely to have a different meaning than the same message delivered by an old woman talking on the radio about the same topic. Media, then, is any medium by which information is stored and delivered to the public. This is a very wide-ranging definition of media that captures the essential point that media is a broader instrument to communication than simply speaking or acting in a certain way. Media is also goal-directed, whether that goal consists of inspiring action in its recipients, making a profit, or informing certain people of events happening in the world. Lastly, a third relevant definition to be considered is for gender. The idea of “gender” is conceptually distinct from sex, which is tied more fundamentally to the biology of an individual’s body. What is relevant here, then, is not the identification the individual can make of himself or herself with regard to what is anatomically true about his or her body, but rather the kind of individual he or she identifies with as a person. To the extent that cultures are capable of creating their own systems of symbols to represent their own beliefs and attitudes, so too can individuals form beliefs and attitudes about personally relevant issues such as which groups in society he or she identifies with. According to the sex and gender description, one social identifier open to individual choice is ... Read More
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