Media Constructs Reality

  •  Man’s knowledge and understanding about new things and inventions is limited so it gets help from others to have better understanding of things so what he being told is the real picture of the world is or not very important discussion. They are many reasons of construction of reality the first one is to make the news appealing to the people as a result media decides to give priority to some news and ignores others. It is fact that the news shown on TV and published on newspapers are bias, journalistic cannot ignore their views while making news so the news are construction of journalist’s ideas and not the facts and unbiased stories. Traditional Marxists believe that media is in the control of elite class who also rule over the state and for maintain their power over the country they manipulate the context of the news and try to feed one sided story of every information to public. The Marxists also believe that the control over the construction of news is for the benefit of capitalism and their aim is trying to prevent the common public from seeing the inequalities they are facing in the hands of capitalists system. So we can say that Traditional Marxists believe that the construction of news in media is used to maintain the false consciousness.

    What we see and observe is shaped up by our own selves or by someone else. What we view in this world may be reality or distorted reality. Media show us reality but distorted one or its own form of reality which shows us one sided picture of reality not reality itself. Today is the age of information technology so people use media to know about the world and so media is considered very important in this regard. Media constructed reality by shaping the News, the drama content, and the image they show on screen, they modify all this in such a way that people believe the content truth and reality based. In newspapers the editor and the reporter both are responsible for shaping the news, sometimes editor construct the distorted reality for sensationalism. We live and die with media constructed reality about the world and the whole process of media construction of reality in its own way seems us so normal and natural that we never identify it until we personally observe and experience the real side of the story. How we view the things around us or the world is shaped by the information we get through the media for example the image or reality of Pakistan is totally opposite to what it is in foreigners minds about Pakistan. The constructed reality of Pakistan on media is just one side of the coin. The media show one angle of Pakistan to the world and hide other angles. The first-hand experience of different people about Pakistan is altogether different from media construction. I have experienced many times that people’s knowledge and information about Pakistan is quite different from reality, 5 years ago a journalism student named Natalia who was my cousin’s friend from UK met me and the first question she asked me was, do you experience bomb blasts, assassinations and kidnappings every day in Pakistan. The second question she asked me was do all men have multiple wives there in Pakistan. I was shocked to hear this from her I replied that Pakistan is not at all as you think it is, your perception about Pakistan is far away to reality. All these typical questions she asked me were the result of media’s construction of reality in their own way. This one sided reality presentation is not limited to news but all media content either dramas, documentaries, films or reports are constructing the same image of distorted reality in our minds. The one sided story of a person or either a country create stereotypes. The very negative and problematic thing about all stereotypes have their incomplete and one sided perception of a news story which create a lot of problems for others as well as for their own selves. It is fact that media role is to show the darker side of the story as well but it does not mean that with positive things you cannot show the real picture of a society, cashing the misery and sufferings of others is not the true interpretation of the word reality rather by showing the positive side of a society you can also achieve the same purpose of highlighting the issue for example in Liberia during Ebola crises there was a NGO owned by Katty Maila  posted images and videos full of hope and life along with she showed the sad reality of Ebola disease as well. So the objective of Katty was to show the reality of the Ebola crises and showed it by posting two sided story that if Ebola is horror than there is still plenty of hope. During the time when everyone was busy in showing the horror of Ebola, in this extreme situation Katty’ posts were providing the balance in the story.

     In this modern age people depend more on social media rather print or electronic media. The way they behave, think, assume and believe is influenced by the social media. But the construction of reality on social media is controversial and untrustworthy. The news on social media are not only one sided but also fake. The role of social media in this regard is as a manipulator.

    The role of media in the construction of reality is worth mentioned, the mass media have greater influence on human minds and the way they view the world is decided mostly by the media and not by their own selves. Today is the world of modern information technology and nobody even think to live without it so they rely on this information which they get through media and then develop their thinking and perception based on the information and images they watch or read on TV screen or newspapers.  No doubt sometimes the information on media may be true depiction of reality but many times the picture shown by media is not the true depiction of reality rather they shape the reality and use it for their own purpose. Media usually shows only negative side of a story and not the positive side, for example a report about Wani and Karokari is shown on media and media tells us that parents of the girl were responsible for this because they wanted to save their son who accidently or intentionally murder someone and in return they have to repent the loss through the girl of their family but media never shows that why the family is doing this in the pressure of their family, relatives or due to Jirga system the media usually blame parents of the victim for this not the society which is also responsible for this. On media the image of a car accident or battle field shown to tell us the real picture of what is happening but the audience only able to understand what is shown and they are not able to understand what is left in these images. For example in movies like Superman and James Bond the brighter side of American Society but do you think it is reflection of reality, no it the construction of reality by media that how America is but the movies like The taxi Driver shows altogether different picture of American society. In the same on media the countries like Somalia, Sudan are shown the worst countries of the world but you went there by your own you would see much better condition than media depiction. In 1910 an Soviet filmmaker did an experiment with his film by taking an impression less image of male actor than joining  the image of death and soup and lust  with the that impression less image he shows the actual image and the joint one to different audience and the people believe it truth what he or she see if he has shown the death and the impression less picture of man he believe that he is sad and the person who see the man’s  pic with soup  boll he believe that he is hungry, everyone believe it truth what he sees . In the same way what media tells us we take it authentic and accurate we recognize the images shown on media facts. In our country the construction of reality exists in its excessive form.

    The Danger of a Single Story:

    The famous TED talk, The danger of a single story by the Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie truly shows the real picture of today’s media where the focus is only on one sided story. She very beautifully show us her own experiences of having a single story about others and others single stories about her and her native country Nigeria, the very first single story she developed in her childhood was about books she used to read American and British children’s books and where all the characters were white and blue eyed so her perception about books was one sided until she discovered African children books. Another single story she told that after many years of her stay in America, she went to Mexico, in America she heard much about Mexicans that they were fleecing, smugglers, gangsters and many other negative things about them. But she was surprised to see happy and well civilized people, who were laughing and peacefully roaming here and there. Then she realized that what she was shown on media was one single story of Mexican’s not the real depiction of Mexican people. So that’s how the media creates a single sided story of people and countries, by showing only one reality about them or by showing one thing about them, and by showing the one thing again and again, and thus in this way the media manipulate their thinking towards specific things. It is fact that Mexico has gangsters, smugglers and robbers but it does not mean everyone there is bad as media shows. In the same way Nigeria is a poor country with a lot of issues but there is another side of Nigeria is also important to show the world.

    So in media there is construction of reality and not the reflection of reality, everything which appear on media has certain perspective and the content shown to us is pre-constructed reality, the version of reality not the reality itself. The news and information that given to us through media is not something that happens but it is something what is being presented after construction. The bias feelings of journalist or reporter shape the news in its own way and thus the news become the distorted reality.