Media Stereotypes

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It is widely accepted that, for a democratic society to merely exist, let alone effectively function or flourish, the media and government must co-exist, while retaining independence, and healthy levels of scepticism. This symbiotic relationship informs the general public of significant issues, and, theoretically, safeguards against power or influence corrupting either of these institutions. Politicians rely on the media to relay their policies, messages, and actions, to mass audiences, while the media requires this information to fulfil their fourth estate role, and deliver engaging news. Nevertheless, the information politicians convey, and the media’s resultant coverage, greatly impact voters’ perception of, and confidence in, the political…show more content…
Washbourne (2010, p.10) highlights this, stating, “…for example, the news magazine programme that has tended to replace the documentary format in television; it gives much less detailed information and a greater level of repetition of information, and thus is less able to explore complex themes.” While not explicitly political, Todhunter (2010, p.1), further reinforces the undermining effect trivialised content can have, lamenting, “…decades of serious writing on feminism were overtaken by the Spice Girls shouting the slogan ‘girl power’ at every available opportunity. A serious issue became used as a commercial ploy to sell music.” Tanner (2011, p.6) ironically exemplifies the media’s willingness to distort messages, while also illustrating that seeking blame is a futile and overly-simplistic interpretation of this issue. He illuminates (2011, p.6), “The relatively small number of journalists who read this book will search for someone to blame for the problems it reports. Somehow or other, they will be looking to create a headline that begins with ‘Tanner attacks’… personal attacks and salacious revelations…show more content…
When regarded as a supplement to, rather than a replacement for, traditional hard news, satirical political coverage can highlight significant issues, and commence critical dialogues (McClennen 2011, p.99). American political satirists Steven Colbert and Jon Stewart are perhaps the prominent and influential examples of this (McClennen 2011, p.100). Though both deny their shows are news, their ability to highlight political hypocrisy and influence wider public debate and opinion, while remaining entertaining, is undeniable, and provides an important democratic function (McClennen 2011, p.101). McClennen (2011, p.101) succinctly demonstrates this, explaining, “The point is that the silliness on The Colbert Report often has the possibility of suggesting something more serious.” Scammell (2011, p.1) reinforces the success and importance of satirists such as Stewart, however notes not all comedians are suited to fill a similar role, suggesting Stewart is an exception, rather than an example to be emulated. He remarks (2011, p.1), “Even the ABC's Q&A is seemingly not comfortable exploring the big issues without the occasional stand-up comedian sitting on the panel and presenting their partially formed views alongside more substantial political and social commentators. No doubt this is some sort of media nod to America's great television

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