The illusion of political domination


How much of what is presented in the media can influence our decisions?

Newspapers are everywhere. The web now allows us to access and eternal presence of news, covering 24/7 cycles with stories that are perpetually being updated (Castells, 2013). This means we can feed ourselves with news whenever we want to. We no longer need to wait to buy the newspaper or to watch the news on TV ‘to know what’s happening’.

How much of our will power has been lost by being able to access this stream of news permanently?

Source

There are people who feed themselves 24/7 with news, and those who feed themselves 24/7 with all those things that make news.

With which of these groups do you identify yourself the most?

The way media influences people and how it shapes the way they think, has been a source of power throughout history (Castells, 2007). This type of power, which dominates ‘what people want’, has been defined by Steven Lukes as ‘invisible power’ (Lukes cited in Gaventa, 2011).

People generally trust what’s presented to them on the media, comment with others on what they’ve seen in the news, and allow ‘these topics’ to permeate their social lives.

Many people, also consider ‘bad’ to not being updated about current events and tend to judge those who do not base their entire lives around what’s happening 24/7 on the news.

Taking the above into account, one could say, there are people who feed themselves 24/7 with news, and those who feed themselves 24/7 with all those things that make news.

‘The politics of scandal’

“Political scandals attract the public eye and dominate the media” (Davidson, 2015).

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Much of the news stories that are produced are presented as scandals, which is what entertains people, and they have an important role in shaping public debate (Thompson, 1999). Nowadays, there is an inclination for people to follow or not follow political leaders based on their personal stories and individualities more than for what they propose in their government programs, and this tendency is directly linked to the politics of scandal (Castells, 2013).

How much are we allowing these scandals to shape our lives?

‘scandal is a socially constructed perception of misbehavior which opposition elites help create’ (Nyhan, 2009,piv).

How much are we willing to give away from our lives, while making ‘other people’s lives’ our priority?

Here’s one of the numerous reflections that can be found on YouTube from people who have decided to change the way they consume news and are sharing their experience with other people.

‘STOP watching the news’ by DominickQTV

What are your views on this? Do you agree we should stop watching the news?

There’s still a lot more to say about this interesting topic!

Every post I write is an opportunity to keep inspired and write more. While writing this post I came up with the idea of a very interesting challenge that anyone can take and I want you to participate in it.

It is very easy; I will let you know what it is about soon!

So please follow us on twitter to keep you posted!

Thank you!

Note to readers: This post is part of my reflections of Critical Issues in Campaigning at the University of Westminster MA in Media Campaigning and Social Change.

The images used on this post are under CC license unless otherwise stated.

The featured image on this post was taken from: Source

References

Castells, M. (2007). Communication, Power and Counter-power in the Network Society. International Journal of Communication, 1, 238–266. Available from: http://ijoc.org/index.php/ijoc/article/view/46/35

Castells, M. (2013). Communication Power. 2nd edition. United Kingdom: Oxford University Press

DominickQTV (2015). STOP watching the news. YouTube. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yYMN7o1Pw48 [Accesed 9 January 2017]

Gaventa, J. (2011) Power Pack Understanding Power for Social Change. https://www.powercube.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/powerpack-web-version-2011.pdf

Nyhan, B. (2009) Strategic Outrage:The Politics of Presidential Scandal. Department of Political Science Duke University. Available from: http://dukespace.lib.duke.edu/dspace/bitstream/handle/10161/1229/D_Nyhan_Brendan_a_200904.pdf?sequence=1

Thompson, J.B. (1999). The Nature and Consequences of Political Scandals. Comunicación y Sociedad (DECS. Universidad de Guadalajara), num. 36, julio -diciembre 1999, pp. 11 – 46. Available from: http://www.comunicacionysociedad.cucsh.udg.mx/sites/default/files/a1_13.pdf