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This picture says a lot.

I think most people realize that Photoshop is a real thing consistently utilized by magazines and advertisement companies. While I don’t feel like going into the ethics of Photoshop, why do they do it?

Because beauty sells.

“Whether or not a person is aware of the possibility of image alterations, not everyone realizes exactly HOW MUCH these images are changed to fit some seriously un-human and unrealistic ideals that we view over and over. And not everyone understands that it isn’t just fashion magazine covers that feature drastically Photoshopped images. It’s TV. It’s video. It’s your favorite brand online. It’s everywhere.” – Beauty Redefined

People like pretty, they like sexy. An attractive person is more likely to sell a product or catch someone’s attention than an unattractive one.

And it’s a global phenomenon.

This article from Buzzfeed shows the same picture of a woman altered drastically based on location. A freelance writer sent the same picture of herself around the world and told editors to make her look beautiful. The results are stunning because every picture is Photoshopped differently. This shows that standards of beauty are very relative.

(Clicking on each photo will reveal which country it is from.)

So what are the outcomes?

It makes media hard to trust.

“It’s hard to believe anyone’s “personal best” is a fake representation of herself. They’ll plaster “body confidence!” all over the magazine and quote Kelly talking about her own real body confidence, but they refuse to show us her actual body.”

Beauty Redefined shared this about Kelly Clarkson and her cover of Self magazine which celebrated her weight loss. Except, the cover photo was extremely Photoshopped.

How can we know what we are looking at is the real thing? It’s not like pictures have a disclaimer stating that that it has been altered.

While issues with body image come into play with magazines and ads, some would argue Photoshop is just art. If the person in the picture is okay with it, what is the big deal?

But I digress, I could go on forever about the conflict.

What about Photoshopping real news though?

“If a photo is worth a thousand words, then a doctored photo is worth a million. In this age of Photoshop, nothing is sacred ground, not even reporters’ mug shots at the paper of record.” – The Guardian

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Here is an example where people and obstacles are added to and taken away from a photograph. The top photo is the final copy and this was taken by a man working for the Los Angeles Times.

It’s an intriguing topic and there are many ethical dillemas involved.

I think advertisement is one thing, but real news and facts that people need to know are another. If we can’t even trust a photograph how can we trust the news itself?

Things to think about.

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What Do We Do Now?

“What the mass media offers is not popular art, but entertainment which is intended to be consumed like food, forgotten, and replaced by a new dish.” ~ W.H. Auden in The Dyer’s Hand

“Constantly exposing yourself to popular culture and the mass media will ultimately shape your reality tunnel in ways that are not necessarily conducive to achieving your Soul Purpose and Life Calling. Modern society has generally ‘lost the plot’. Slavishly following its false gods and idols makes no sense in a spiritually aware life.” ~Anthon St. Maarten

What I am hoping to accomplish with this blog is to at least make my readers think. I don’t expect everyone to buy into everything I have said, or even find validity in it. Yet, I hope I at least proved a few points. I hope that people see how mediums are manipulated behind the scenes and that the consumer, as a result, is manipulated as well.

In my third blog post I talked about how the news has been manipulated in the past. It is still happening today.

In my fourth blog post I talked about how reality TV manipulates us and how it is shaping society.

Those are just a few things to think about. There is a lot more information out there that I didn’t even touch on. There is a lot more I could learn and share; it is an endless process. My eyes were really opened by this project alone and the research I did.

If more people were on the right page and more people did their research instead of mindlessly believing everything they are told, we could possibly change the media for the better. If enough people knew what happened behind the scenes in what we consume, I think that would be initiative enough for a change.

But in all, just think. Think before consuming, what exactly is the motive and what is the message?

Have a good day!

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Reality TV

Is reality television real?

Many seem to believe so and it certainly is portrayed to be. Is that maybe a bit misleading?

Reader’s Digest has an article titled 13 Secrets Reality TV Show Producers Won’t Tell You.  The article debunks a few of the misconceptions about reality TV.

“True, there’s no script, but we have writers who craft plot lines, twisting and tweaking footage to create conflict and shape a story. Oh, and we redo things all the time.”

The article goes on to talk about other misconceptions such as how reality stars have their main expenses covered, however they aren’t paid very well.  Do-it-yourself shows aren’t filmed in the amount of time specified, professionals actually come in to do the renovations, and the budget is unrealistic.

“We’re master of manipulation.”

“We often take different clips and edit them together to sound like one conversation, sometimes drastically changing the meaning. We can even create complete sentences from scratch.”

Hmm.

According to npr.org, Bryan Gibson who is a psychologist at Central Michigan University said “This is one form of media that may appear harmless, but I think our research provides a little bit of evidence that there can be some negative outcomes as well”.

It was found in a study that people who spend time watching shows with excessive amounts of drama and relational aggression (which, let’s be honest, includes most reality TV), often tend to be that way in real life.

psmag.com had an article that did another study on women’s behaviors. The study focused on women who watch reality TV with heightened drama and aggression, shows like Keeping Up With The Kardashians and The Real Housewives.

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“Viewers of these programs believe women in the real world engage in bad behaviors (e.g., spreading rumors and verbal aggression) more often than do men,” the researchers write. “Furthermore, heavy viewers of these shows overestimate the prevalence of discord (e.g., affairs and divorces) and an emphasis on sex (e.g., sex on the first date, having multiple sex partners) in romantic relationships.”

In The Impact of Reality TV On Our Teens: What Can Parents Do? the article says that while adults may know that reality TV is not real life, children may not have this perception. It may actually be impacting their lives such as their ideas of physical beauty and sex appeal, materialism and excessive partying, aggression, lack of focus on the importance of intelligence, and lack of focus on real world success.

It’s not just here in America. This picture shows different United Kingdom reality TV shows.

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France, Nordic countries and Australia even have their own version of Jersey Shore.

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This fad, or I would call it an epidemic, has hit all over the globe.

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What draws people to these shows?

psychologytoday.com says “Reality TV allows Americans to fantasize about gaining status through automatic fame. Ordinary people can watch the shows, see people like themselves and imagine that they too could become celebrities by being on television. It does not matter as much that the contestants often are shown in an unfavorable light; the fact that millions of Americans are paying attention means that the contestants are important.”

This article focused on reality TV in America, but this could definitely be true for anywhere. Think of how many ethnic groups are represented in America alone.

So what does this tell us?

How To Teach The Reality TV Generation? talks about the effects of reality TV on students and the negative effect on their attention span. Teachers have found that they need to implement more technology in their teaching and need “broken-down lessons packed with different activities to ensure the engagement of even the brightest students.”

Has anyone ever thought about the amount of kids diagnosed and medicated for ADD and ADHD? Ever wondered if this has any correlation?

This is a problem. Something that can drastically affect your life in such a negative way really has no benefits other than entertainment. I think this is dangerous. What are we filling our minds with? What are we filling our kid’s minds with?

It’s time to do our research, time to be more educated on our world and the effects of our world. The saying “you are what you eat” can also be “you are what you consume”. I think it’s time for people to realize that.

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CNN The “Fear Monger”?

“CNN has scripted and staged live war coverage to create a sense of drama and danger around people who were not in harm’s way.” ~ Waking Times

Search “CNN fake newscast” in Google. A plethora of results will automatically pop up. CNN is a very well known and successful American news agency, should this not be a huge red flag? Is the American public being exposed to lies by this news agency as well as others?

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First, take a look at this example to see what I am talking about:

CNN is caught staging a news segment in Syria with actors.

The entire interview here is obviously staged. The man is on the phone is giving cues for background sounds and is completely relaxed and calm during the midst of what is supposed to be an attack. He merely delivers his lines and tells CNN what they expect to hear.

Founded in Atlanta by Ted Turner in 1980, CNN – The Cable News Network is “among the world’s leaders in online news and information delivery” says the CNN website’s “about”.

Two moments pretty much defined CNN’s role in world news while gaining them worldwide popularity. The first key role was during the Tiananmen Square protests. CNN was present during this event and provided the world with raw, live footage.

The second major moment for CNN was the Gulf War. This news agency was one of the only allowed to film the war live. It has been said the CNN interpreted war for the world.

Are we giving this huge responsibility to the right people?

“We have been deceived by our media to such an extent, mostly because people are too trusting of our news system. They very naively believe that broadcasters and journalists would never lie to us. This trust has worked against us with devastating consequences which are unknown to most.” ~NewsFocus

Take a look at this next news clip. This specific clip is from Before It’s News, an alternative news source. There is a short description and explanation provided along with the video:

CNN and fake Gulf War coverage

This video can be found all over the internet and is the main result when searching for CNN fake newscasts. It shows what is supposed to be a news reporter live at the scene of an attack. There are sounds of bombs and destruction in the background. However, everything is actually being filmed on the safety of a set. The actors, (or I suppose I should call them reporters) are shown cutting up and messing around while there is supposedly a war going on in the near vicinity.

What about other new agencies?

Let’s take a look:

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Fox News’ Year in Apologies

This article covers all of the fake videos and false information Fox News had to apologize for. Note that these are only the mishaps that were caught and released to the public.

Another analysis of Fox News by Punditfact claimed that 60% of Fox News is lies.

“Punditfact divides Fox’s on-air falsehoods into categories, from claims that are mostly false (21 percent), those that were completely false (31 percent), and the most blatant lies, which are termed “Pants On Fire” (9 percent).”

NBC has also been found guilty. The article linked here is about the suspension of news anchor Brian Williams from NBC after fabricating details in a story.

All of this is not to say that news should be infallible. No one should really believe that it is or could be completely. There is always human error. However, when we are being willingly and admittedly fed false information, there lies a problem.

Business Insider says that these top six corporations own 90% of media in the U.S.

  • GE
  • News Corp
  • Disney
  • Viacom
  • Time Warner
  • CBS

“In 1983, 90% of American media was owned by 50 companies. In 2011 the same 90% is controlled by six companies.” They also control 70% of our cable television.

Does anyone else see the problem with this?

“Enabled by FCC deregulation and a decades-long orgy of mergers and acquisitions, these six giants dominate our media landscape. Until regulations return, (or they buy each other out of existence) they will continue to control 90% of everything Americans see, hear and consider important.” ~Business Insider

The scary thing about this is that so much is controlled by so little. If there is untruthfulness or dishonesty present in one aspect or in even one outlet, there is bound to be things that don’t add up in many others.

Why this great deception? Well, it makes governing a nation much easier.

“The behind the scenes machinations of big money and politics are so well hidden from most of the population, that if people actually knew how things were really run, we would quite literally have a second revolution overnight.” ~NewsFocus

“To understand how badly you have been misled, you first need to learn about how our news organizations have been infiltrated. Once you learn this undeniable historical fact, it is far easier to understand that life is not as you know it.”

Be careful what you watch and listen to; pay attention to detail, and overall, don’t believe everything the news or other sources tell you. It is worthwhile to be critical of everything.

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Time Magazine and Americans’ Detachment from the Rest of the World

According to Waking Times, “Time Magazine is considered a leader in national news, yet they consistently portray a dumbed-down, frivolous image of life in America while presenting an entirely different message to the rest of the world.”

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Buzzfeed has an interesting article on the same topic. “There may be a reason why Americans don’t know very much about international news,” they state at the beginning of the article.

Just take a look at a few examples.

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This one especially feels wrong.

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Starting to get the picture?

“This is not an isolated incident, for perusing Time’s covers reveals countless examples of the publication tempting the world with critical events, ideas or figures, while dangling before the Americans the chance to indulge in trite self-absorption,” says Daily Kos.

Does this show a major difference in America’s interest versus the rest of the world’s? It certainly seems to be the case.

Why are Americans so out of the loop?

Well first, lets look at where it begins – the education system. From kindergarten to high school, kids are taught extensively about the United States of America and its history. Some schools require Global History and Geography, but the amount of time dedicated to learning about the entire rest of the globe in comparison to learning about our own country is shocking. Some states don’t even require Geography to graduate high school anymore.

National Geographic did a survey which suggests that young Americans are practically geographically illiterate. “Take Iraq, for example. Despite nearly constant news coverage since the war there began in 2003, 63 percent of Americans aged 18 to 24 failed to correctly locate the country on a map of the Middle East.”

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“Young Americans just don’t seem to have much interest in the world outside of the U.S.,” said David Rutherford, a specialist in geography education at the National Geographic Society in Washington, D.C.

This should be alarming.

In an article titled My Lazy American Students, author Kara Miller goes on to say that “too many American students simply lack the basics. In 2002, a National Geographic-Roper survey found that most 18- to 24-year-olds could not find Afghanistan, Iraq, or Japan on a map, ranking them behind counterparts in Sweden, Great Britain, Canada, Italy, Japan, France, and Germany. And in 2007 the American Institutes for Research reported that eighth graders in even our best-performing states – like Massachusetts – scored below peers in Singapore, South Korea, and Japan, while students in our worst-performing states – like Mississippi – were on par with eighth graders in Slovakia, Romania, and Russia.”

Why are we as an American population so disinterested and detached from the rest of the world? Maybe it’s because we loom off in the distance with an ocean between us and most of the world. Maybe it’s because we just don’t have the time. I say this meaning that Americans are bombarded daily by TV, video games, entertainment magazines, YouTube, social media, and reality TV – so much so that we are completely distracted from anything else of real worth. “Success is all about time management, and in a globalizing economy, Americans’ inability to stay focused and work hard could prove to be a serious problem,” says Miller. Technology and time efficiency have taken over our lives, distracting us from anything else. That’s one way we differ from the rest of the world – most countries aren’t bombarded by this amount and intensity of crap.

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However, what American don’t realize or care to realize is this – global news and the global economy is completely relevant to us. In fact, it is in our best interest to pay more attention to it than to our Facebook notifications. We are affected by the rest of the globe almost daily. Look at the global economy to say the least; we are most definitely not obsolete from it. (The Great Depression actually began in Europe before effecting the U.S.)

Americans are too preoccupied and a bit selfish. As a whole, we are uneducated on the world around us and have succumbed to the mass of technology and entertainment we are surrounded with. Time Magazine is a prime example. It is time for us to realize this and take initiative to become more educated and aware of what is around us.

We are part of this earth. We might as well accept it, act like it, and become a functioning part of it. This begins with paying attention.

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By: Elisabeth Bradley

Introduction to Global Media Manipulation

All media has a purpose. Some media is to merely inform, other mediums are for entertainment or for consumers. However, all media results in some sort of reaction. Whether it is the audience thinking a certain way about something or going out and buying a certain product, all media has an outcome. I have found it very interesting to look at media portrayed around the world to see what kind of results it endeavors to produce. Sadly enough, most people consume without questioning the source or purpose. “[W]e have come to a point where it is no longer even necessary for media institutions to attempt to hide their blatant work of manipulating public opinion, manufacturing consent, and creating winners and losers in the minds of the already brain-washed public”, according to Waking Times.

http://www.wakingtimes.com/2014/02/27/everything-mainstream-media-fake-6-examples-media-manipulation/

So what do I mean by manipulation? “Manipulation is a way to covertly influence someone with indirect, deceptive, or abusive tactics” according to Google. Let us look at some of the tactics used for manipulation. Waking Times provides a list in their article “Is Everything in the Mainstream Media Fake? – 6 Examples of Media Manipulation”. I found this really interesting and would like to cover it in this blog post. I want to use later posts to go back and look at the examples I provided in this post in order to go into further depth and explanation. Today however, I would just like to throw out some examples I found in the Waking Times and would enjoy elaborating on later.

  1. Time Magazine

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Time Magazine is one of the most well-known world leaders of news, and “consistently portray a dumbed-down, frivolous image of life in America while presenting an entirely different message to the rest of the world.”

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  1. CNN the “fear monger”.

“CNN has scripted and staged live war coverage to create a sense of drama and danger around people who were not in harm’s way.” Waking Times then provides two different video examples of staged events from CNN.

https://youtu.be/tEXxxdOI85o

https://youtu.be/gd8SdV80AL8

For the sake of time, like I stated before, I will cover these and do more research in later blog posts.

  1. Fake Reality TV

While a lot of people believe everything they see on TV, most people should know that reality TV isn’t really reality. I was filmed for a reality TV show back in high school as well as being on the set for American Idol once. I can say from personal experience that it was nothing like the final, edited version of the episodes. There is a lot going on behind the scenes that the viewer isn’t supposed to know about.

  1. Local news is nationally scripted

Here are a few examples:

https://youtu.be/TM8L7bdwVaA

https://youtu.be/KZ1mA1NeUmU

  1. The advertisement industry

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I think most people know where I am headed with this one.

https://youtu.be/17j5QzF3kqE

I hope this quick little introduction will at least spark some interest. I look forward to using my next few blogs post to go back over these five examples and show more research and commentary on them. I will also look at more sources.

Until then, stay classy.