Reality and Why Media Distorts It

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“The most dangerous of all falsehoods is a slightly distorted truth.” ? Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

What is reality? How do you know what is real and what is not? Is what you see more real or what you hear? Do you believe the newspaper’s version of reality or do you believe your friend’s version of reality? These questions often persist in our minds. Most of the times, these question remain unanswered and we just ignore them. They keep lying in that small corner of our brain which we hardly visit. But if we stop to think and try to answer them, what would the answers be like? Undoubtedly, they would be as varied as the human race is. Every one of us perceives and understands things differently. While some may believe that reality is just an illusion, others may believe that our today is as real as it can get. But one thing we will all agree on is that media only shows us a part of the picture and not the whole picture. 

Ideal journalism means reporting reality as it is- pure and unbiased. But we certainly don’t live in an ideal world and whatever way we perceive things, it is often a distorted version of reality. A journalist, however unbiased he or she may be, is still human and thus bound by emotions like all of us. Since we, humans see life through a subjective lens rather than an objective one, anything we report or say is, if not completely, partially laced by our own opinions and perceptions. However, as media is regarded as an epitome of truth, it becomes mandatory that journalists try their best to report the least distorted version of reality. But, sadly the same doesn’t hold true today.  Today media has been reduced merely to an institution of people pleasing. In the haste of staying ahead of competition, media has lost its essence. Today the media tells you what you want to hear rather than what you need to hear. Since we, humans have an inherent capability to reject what we don’t understand because it makes us feel small, even this already distorted version of truth is distorted further. What remains in the end are mere fragments of truth mingled with our concocted lies. This is how rumours are born. For example during the Boston bombings, the media in their haste to uncover and report the truth got it most of it wrong. Facts were misreported, suspects were misidentified and even fake motives were identified.

I am in no way saying that all media reports are lies. Of course media has done some commendable jobs, uncovered scandals and exposed wrong doings. But what most of us forget is that it is after all a business and a business aims at earning profits. This is why media exaggerates and sometimes even fabricates reality. Thus, media isn’t always reliable. But this doesn’t mean that we will simply disregard everything that media reports. It simply means that we shouldn’t take everything at face value. It means that whatever we see, hear and are told, should be taken with a grain of salt. Rather than out rightly rejecting whatever media says, we should try to analyse and process information. We should try to understand things from different angles so that what we absorb and retain will be the closest version of truth. The closer we get towards the truth, the less distorted it gets. So know that what you see and hear may not be the entire truth but also remember that it is some form of truth. Rather than focusing on that it is half-truth, one should focus on why media only reported this version of truth. May be because it is what the society wants to hear. If we can identify that, then only can we understand what is wrong with our society and then only can we try to correct that wrong.

 

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