Friday, 30 October 2009

Media Attitudes

Could it be that different professions attract people with certain attitudes? Does your typical journalist like a good story? Does a typical soldier like the idea of taking risks? Does a typical nurse put others before themselves?

If this is true (on average) maybe the attitudes presented in the media misunderstand other values held dear by large sections of society. I was reminded of this by horrified media reports of comments made by Prince Edward about the risks involved in the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme (here's one from the Mirror). To paraphrase him, he suggested that kids are attracted to the scheme because it allows them the responsibility to manage what can amount to serious risks. (As an ex-mountain rescuer, and mountaineer, who has helped rescue DofE youths, I may have a different attitude to many reporters on this issue.)

It may be obvious that the media could be used to peddle blatant demagogy, or any other type of political bias, but I raise this issue here to point out that Interactive Democracy gives the media more power to subtly influence society by the transmission of their values, in an insidious way, that may be difficult to counter balance. Sure, our existing leaders (political, religious, etc) have obvious opportunities to transmit their values, and the web offers others the opportunity to do the same, but is this enough?... Or does it really matter?... Perhaps we should just accept it and trust that people can make their own decisions.

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