"The media (books, film, music, television, for example) tend to create rather than reflect the values of a society."
For most who live in first-world countries, it is impossible to go through a given day without being inundated with messages through media. Marshall McLuhan argued in his seminal research that "The medium is the message," and examining the values that are propagated through media is an important one with implications for how societal values are formed. Does media create or reflect the values of a society? My thoughts are that it does both. The creators of media, the process by which media is consumed and the eventual output and success of media production seem to support this. I will attempt to delineate the argument in succession below.
When we examine this argument on whether media creates or reflects the values of society, perhaps a fruitful place to begin is to ask the question, "Who creates media?" Books are written by authors, music produced by musicians, television and movies from a cadre of script writers, newspapers by reporters - though this is but a small - and by no means exhaustive - sample of all the producers of media, it does indicate that media is made by people, and typically, people associated by organisations, themselves just clusters of more people. Inevitably, when we look at a artefact of media, we are looking at something created out of at least one human mind, which has been infused from birth with the beliefs, ideologies and values of a social and cultural context, which we can call "society." As such, media producers draw on their personal histories, which are fashioned and informed by and exist within society, to translate their ideas into artefacts for consumption by other people. Their books, films, music, television shows, newspaper articles, blog posts, Twitter updates and so forth transmit back into the societal milieu and - with luck - meet success to live on and influence more people. Thus, since media is...
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