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Where do they intend to lead us to? 他们企图带我们去向何方?

 

大家好!既然Dr. CJ给了允许,那我也就不客气地写一点中文吧 =) 不过就在不久之前,中文才在语言类的调查研究中当选了世界最难学的语言第一名,所以如果我整篇博客都用中文写的话,估计会被大家杀掉……对中文感兴趣的同学也许已经用翻译工具明白了前面的话,不感兴趣的应该已经直接忽略了这些文字……就这样好了,逗大家玩玩,以上内容和博客本身没有关系 =p

The words above have nothing to do with the blog content. Just relax =)

With the rapid development of globalization, media, the key tool for people from all over the world to better know and understand each other, is playing a more and more important role in globalization process. In our daily life, media is the most convenient and efficient way for us to know what is going on everyday either in our own country or other countries that far away from us, as well as reach other people and countries that we are not familiar with and curious about.

However, media is not always reflecting the fact and truth while large amount of information and messages are widely spreading everywhere through different media channels. I am always interested in the issue of media bias, which has a huge impact on people’s thoughts and attitudes toward almost every aspect in the society, such as economy, politics, culture, history, etc. Sometimes it can strongly influence or even change people’s concepts and values toward life and soul.

Why is media often biased? Who is actually manipulating the media? What is the purpose of the manipulation?  The answers for questions like that are not very clear for common people like us. Here I would like you to take a few minutes to watch a short video clip The Myth of the Liberal Media: The Propaganda Model of News, which is related to this topic and may give us a brief idea about how media works, especially from the aspect of politics.

 

The fact is that, we, the audience of media, are passive receivers being targeted by certain “manipulators” of media. For example, from the aspect of politics, politicians take advantage of media for better winning people’s support; party in power uses media to guide public opinions for better consolidating its power and influence. What we see and think mostly depends on what kind of information and messages we get from the media and where such information and messages intend to lead us to. In other words, any kind of media bias can cause huge influence on people’s attitudes and affect people’s ability of independent thinking. Different types of media bias such as the reference of unreliable source, lack of diversity, the utilizing of double standards or stereotypes, etc., can be easily discovered from every media channel nowadays.

Here is an example of the negative impact that media bias had brought about. In 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, during the process of Olympic Torch Relay, some people in Germany and UK were rioting against the torch relay team, aiming to obstruct the torch relay process and show their opposition to China as well as their support of the independence of Tibet. They burst into the torch relay team, trying to snatch or destroy the torch; they waved the flag of Tibet as well as the banner “free Tibet” in the crowd; they even burned Chinese national flag in front of other Chinese people who were watching the torch relay at the roadside. People in Germany and UK took such actions because that the mainstream media of Germany and UK, like ZDF and BBC, had reported that Chinese government kept using military force to confine and suppress Tibetans, who had been suffering a lot and didn’t have any freedom in Tibet. There were also some other fabricated stories widely spread through these well-known media channels, which made people in those countries feel there was totally no human rights in Tibet that Tibetans should get rid of the “shackles” from Chinese government. I don’t want to talk too much about the political issues between Tibet and China because it is another question that is not related to the topic here. My purpose is trying to show how easily people can be influenced by what media conveys and how strong the influence is that can really make people take some serious actions.  People who made such actions were fully convinced by the media, ignoring the source and reliability of those stories.

If you are interested, here is another 2-minute video clip showing how Chinese people in Germany protesting in silence against biased German media after the torch relay. Still remember “the single story”? Maybe what we need to do is to spare some time to listen to different voices talking about the same issue.

 

Here are my discussion questions:

  1. Are you a person who can be easily influenced by media? Why or why not?
  2. How much do you care about the reliability or objectiveness of a piece of news?
  3. When you hear about some news from certain media channel, will you believe that it is the whole story or try to look for more information that could help you judge the issue on your own?
  4. From your opinion, how can people avoid being influenced by biased media as far as possible?

So much for the topic. Can’t wait to see your insightful thoughts.

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