Racial Minorities in the Media

Topics: United States, Minority group, Minority Pages: 8 (2936 words) Published: December 7, 2012
Racial Minorities in the Media

In this current time within the United States, we are all part of a society, which is essentially a melting pot of a variety of ethnicities, religious devotions, social class, and of many other different backgrounds, and as a nation we embrace this as a vital part of our nation’s identity. Even though there is an abundant presence of race/ethnicity within the media outlets of today, these portrayals within the media tend to be over exaggerated, stereotypical, or just false in general, and these inaccurate representations tend to cause a negative affect upon the perceptions of the many ethnic and racial groups within our nation. For this essay I will go into detail about the specifics of the representations, what factors have an influence on these portrayals, their effects upon all viewers exposed to them, and the theoretical implications that these representations and its content are associated with. One of the most common areas where one can gain exposure to these depictions is within national and local television news channels, as they tend to use many stereotypic characteristics to describe the perpetrators/victims of any news story, and this hold true especially for crime stories. The theories of framing and second-level agenda-setting hold relevance within this study of local television news coverage of race and ethnicity, as it links the framing of news content with the effects of that content, that is, how people of color are covered in local television news may influence how they are perceived in communities across America, and this framing of the stories can have a strong influence upon how Caucasians and other non-Blacks ethnic groups perceptions and beliefs about the principles of equality, fair play, or affirmative action (Poindexter, Smith & Heider 2003). Second-level agenda setting is distinguished from the first-level because the focus is on the transfer of attribute salience from the media agenda to the public agenda, while the first-level focused on the transfer of object salience (ex. issues, political candidates, public institutions) from the media to the public agenda, so In other words, the first-level of agenda setting tells us what to think about, whereas the second-level, as a result of selection, emphasis, or exclusion of attributes, tells us how to think about the object, issue, individual, event, institution, or even product. The implications of local television news media framing of racial and ethnic minorities are significant because the audience is unaware of what is happening, as much of the power of framing comes from its ability to define the terms of a debate without the audience realizing it is even taking place (Poindexter, Smith & Heider 2003). Television is one of the most influential media channels in the world today, and exposure to these framing techniques and the racial segregation within the news stations. According to the study, viewers would witness and learn that Latino Americans, Asian Americans, and Native Americans were virtually non-existent as anchors, reporters, subjects, and sources within the news, and although a few African Americans were news anchors and some African Americans reported the news, local television news reporters were usually segregated by race within the station. Another thing that was witnessed was the format for the subjects discussed on in the news, since discrimination as a story topic was rare and African Americans were more likely to be newsworthy because they had committed a crime within the community, and that there were fewer opportunities for African Americans to be a source for the news when a story contained only one source, as for Latinos, Asian Americans, and Native Americans, there were few or no chances to be a news source (Poindexter, Smith & Heider 2003). These techniques performed within televised news end up having a negative impact upon the perceptions that...
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