By Melissa C.
Media literacy is defined as the ability to understand mass communication, such as interpreting its message and analyzing its functions. Media literacy has increasingly become more important in understanding the democratic process. Politics have been causing more of an affect in mass media, making media literacy more of an important factor in one’s life. Without media literacy, people’s minds are easily shaped by the constant manipulations of political messages. They are more vulnerable to being manipulated and mislead from the truth. Thus, media literacy is necessary for people to take their positions as citizens.
Political campaign advertisements are an example of a manipulation tool used by political figures. These campaign ads mostly contain a negative tone with purposes to catch the viewers’ attention, give the candidate a chance to make charges and allegations, and give doubt to potential voters. Such as the ones released during the pervious presidential campaign between Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama. In a particular campaign ad, a support group of Mitt Romney ran a commercial portraying Obama’s “failures” in his pervious presidential term. However, most of what is said is untrue and it should be seen as improper for a political figure to do. Candidates can do whatever they want in their political campaign ads since they are considered as “free speech” so it is not censored. Media literacy can only determine this fact. And those who do not analyzed these aspects of the political campaign ads are tricked into picking a candidate that is incapable for the political position. This is very important for our society; it is the citizen’s duty to pick the best possibility for the nation. People need to realize that candidates use the media as a tool to reach voters, no matter in what manner. Candidates only care to reach as many voters as possible even if it takes a few lies. However, there are consequences for us for believing those lies. There is a higher chance that candidate will completely turn back on the promises he made and make decisions we do agree with. There are even politicians in government chairs that use political ads to promote their re-elections with manipulation of lies.
Another reason citizens should have media literacy is to determine how the media does not release all the political news that needs to be heard. Politicians usually pay for networks or writers to keep their scandals away from the people, or people in the media industry believe that the news would be too hard for listeners/views on them. But most of the time, it is because a political figure doe not want to gain a bad reputation especially when they are in a government chair. Actually most of time, political news like that does not aired on all sources possible but they do end up on the Internet, the newspapers, or etc. So citizens should understand that it takes more to switch the channel for figure out what is going on in the government. Facts need to be known by research or some other kind of effort. But unfortunately, this is not how our society works. People are too busy with other things to do so the only way they are informed is by one source that could possibly be protecting a politician’s reputation. And the media knows this fact, which is why they only put the information on one source to begin with.
The purpose to have media literacy goes beyond then being a good citizen. Media literacy can also prevent you from making yourself look like a fool. It is so easily to be tricked by mass media nowadays since media is everywhere; it surrounds us. This is why it would a significant difference if everyone develops the skill of understanding the functions of the media industry.
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