As the media elbows into the homes of millions of Americans, one must raise their level of scrutiny and analyze the information that is being presented to them. Unfortunately, many people believe that the information that they hear is factually based and unbiased. Yet, society finds itself proliferating with news that twists the evidence to sell mistruth either for sensationalism or to push an agenda. This is especially true in regard to media corporations becoming embroiled with politics; this leads them to push a partisan view and manipulate citizens into believing the “truths” and policies of a particular party.
Chiefly, it is important to realize that the media thrives on chaos and fear-mongering. It is clear to see how most of the stories proliferate tragedies, such as natural disasters or violent crimes, and spread uncorroborated rumors, such as doping scandals or sex scandals. Unfortunately, journalists capitalize on the world’s misfortunes. People seek out what is wrong in the world. By catering to this dismal thirst, media companies are able to put more change into their pockets—all without the worry of checking the facts or to see if they are giving a transparent paradigm.
Essentially, the stories that one sees on the television are a work of fiction that is meant to invoke a certain reaction from the audience. Instead of covering the facts as well as what matters, the news realized that drama sells and works to drum up the theatrics. Unfortunately, the show is filled with phenomenal directors and actors because the viewers leave the show thinking that it was firmly rooted in reality. However, the world of the media is more analogous to that of a fantasy realm.
Luckily, there is a way to combat the influx of subjective information: media literacy and education. One of the forefront advocates for this type of education is Judge Napolitano. Napolitano has had a prolific career that includes being on the New Jersey Superior Court. Currently, he is a lawyer in a private practice and is a regular commentator for Fox News. As the media divide between right and left partisan lines grows, he remains firm in his stance that all consumers should approach the information that they hear with caution.
Instead of blindly trusting the source, one should do research to see if the writer or company is hiding any ulterior motives. The aforementioned statement is at the core of media literacy. Furthermore, media literacy is essential for one to see beyond the bias and pull out the facts for what they are and disregard the author’s commentary. Judge Napolitano stands by this perspective and implores the audience to interpret what they are hearing from an objective standpoint. For this to occur, one must not allow their emotions to be manipulated by logical fallacies and stories of despair. They must realize that some media is propaganda to make a policy or position ubiquitous throughout the country. One must see past the puppeteers and realize the difference between fact and sensationalism.