Media: A Placebo Effect

The placebo pill itself is viewed as a medical intervention. Sometimes a patient is given a placebo to convince the improvement of their condition. In other words, it’s a fake treatment that works.

With that being said, I view media as a placebo effect. I do not mean to imply that all of the information is fake, but I mean that the quality of information stimulates our thinking process which influences our actions in society may be a bit too stretched. For example, maybe the news tells us about Arab men and whenever we see one, we have to be cautious that they might be carrying a weapon or is a terrorist. Maybe that is a farfetched truth, but it will be “planted” in our minds whether we like it or not, then we end up walking around wondering if every Arab man has a gun up in his sleeve when the chances of that are pretty low. Another example is that I live in the north eastern area of DC. To be frank, it is not dangerous as it is shown to be. Unfortunately, we had shootings that happened right next to my house last week. That has not happened before, but because of that, the news said that we have to be on watch for our surroundings, watch out for any group of Black people near by because it is more likely they are involved with a gang and is suggested that they were involved with the shootings too. Sure, we have to be more cautious, but because the media suggested that we always be on the watch for any “group of Black people,” -that kind of thing plants a “fake medicine” in our mind which leads to every time I walk to H street, I see a group of Black people and I think it might be them when it is really not.

The media has a strong influence on our society. More information, more power. When we discussed about Michael Jackson last night in class, it made me think that every media company competes with one another for better “credibility” so they would be willing to do anything that would gain their reputation.  I am going to throw in another example here: The Royal Wedding. Goodness, I felt like it would never end. Yes, I am glad that Prince William and Kate got married. It was a beautiful wedding indeed, but seriously- Kate was on our magazine covers for several months now regarding the wedding, honeymoon, and even fashion tips. But one thing I noticed was that if one magazine talked about Kate, the other magazine would too, but with “more” information. I would see the People magazine with the headline of “The Royal Wedding: Kate’s secret tips of being a bride” as opposed to the Star Magazine which had a headline of “Kate and William, Happily Ever After. Honeymoon site revealed and more!” Okay, so there are two magazines which pretty much falls in the same category, but they are competing for who has more information. The more information a company has, the more power it has. Point being,- sometimes striving for the best and trying to obtain more information end up becoming the placebo effect.

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