Sample Term Paper

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One of the most common criticism of the internet based ‘new media’ is that compared to ‘old media’ such as print and television, those at the helm of ‘new media’ feel little need to project a balanced view point.

While traditional news media outlets are also seen as being advocates of one thing or the other, they do traditionally offer some place to opposing viewpoints. Even in the case of news channels like Fox News, for example, which is widely seen as heavily biased towards the republican party, Democratic or liberal guest do appear now and then to offer their viewpoints.

The ‘new media’ on the other hand has blogs, websites and internet video channels devoted to showcasing just one opinion only. This then perpetuates a uniformity of thought and an absence of critical thinking. On these new media platforms like minded people get together and repeat the same opinions over and over again creating what is called an ‘echo-chamber’ effect.

This ‘echo-chamber’ effect is particularly effective in legitimizing fringe political and social opinions in the minds of the ‘new media’ consumers to the extent they may seem to be inhabiting a world different from everyone else. An example of this can be seen on various message boards and blogs dedicated to conspiracy theories such as the idea that the moon landing was faked or the idea that the ruling classes of all countries of the world are actually reptilian aliens from another planet in disguise.

‘New Media’ also has the power to distort media coverage heavily in favour of Digital ‘haves’. For example after Iran’s presidential elections in June 2009, news organizations such as CNN, BBC and Fox News featured blog posts, twitter ‘tweets’, pictures and amateur video footage from anti-government protesters. The whole media coverage was dominated by the idea that the Iranian president Mahmood Ahmedinejad was extremely unpopular with the population of Iran and that there was no way that he could have won a majority in the country.

However several independently conducted studies belie this idea. A pre-election survey by the non-partisan, not-for-profit organization Terror Free Tomorrow showed President Ahmedinejad leading his main rival by a large margin (Balen & Doherty, 2009).  Analysis of post-election surveys also shows that most Iranians regard Mahmood Ahmedinejad as their legitimate leader (World Public Opinion.ORG, 2010).

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