The media has a powerful effect on the public, but this does not mean that the media should be trusted entirely. The press must be scrutinized to make sure it is playing the role it was meant for – to inform the people of news worthy information. It is up to us, the public, to make sure the media plays its part. We must watch all news reports with an eye towards impartiality. If a story quotes officials who are clearly uninterested in what they are saying, it should be discarded.
Of course, much of the news today is not for the public to see. Private citizens pay billions of dollars a year to watch news stations and listen to radio shows that only send them information they want to hear. Stories that pique the interest of a specific group of people can become outrageously divisive and damaging to the public’s good opinion of a certain government. This can also lead to over-reaction from the public when news is reported that the topic is one that affects them. If there is even the slightest chance that the story might not be 100% correct, it is best to discard the news altogether rather than reading a negative story about it.
The media is also guilty of censorship, as they often try to control what is said and reported by the press. They do not always succeed in doing this successfully, but the public should watch out for attempts to influence the news through exaggeration or blatant falsification. For instance, a news report about a school shooting which ends up giving details that are far different from the actual reality can cause the public to view the original story in a negative light. When this happens, it is up to the public to see through the trickery and recognize the news reports as merely fiction. They should also be aware that the media is not necessarily to be trusted at all times.