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Reflections of Diversity in the Media

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Reflections on Diversity in the Media

Michael N. Manneh
ORG 6499
Dr. Jeannine Klein
September 19, 2011

ABSTRACT
The media often misrepresents a person, a people, a place, or an idea, and does so without hesitation. There are many methods and mediums the media uses to reach the great majority of the world. Whether it is by use of print, such as newspapers or magazines, or by broadcast, by means of television, radio and the internet, the media has a way of presenting information to suit its purpose, whatever that may be. Using a series of images and words of and about Latinos/Hispanics that were collected from the internet and newspapers, this essay will seek to reflect on the positive and negative connotations of these images and words.

Reflections on Diversity in the Media
What is the media? Is it more than our eyes and ears to the world? Is the media more than words and images on a screen meant to provide information? There are many definitions of what the media is and what purpose it serves. Regardless of these definitions, the fact remains that the media shapes the world. It has the capability to drive the world in whatever direction it so desires. The media has become a numbers game, driven by ratings and demographics, seeking to provide information of a shock value-centered subject matter, which will draw more viewers. As such, a story of a graphic or tragic nature would gain more viewers than one of a soft-hearted or positive, humane-centered story. Given these facts, it is a rarity to find a lead story that carries a positive vibe. These stories are usually given brief segments, usually no more than 2 to 3 minutes of spot-light time. The media often misrepresents a person, a people, a place, or an idea, and does so without hesitation. There are many methods and mediums the media uses to reach the great majority of the world. Whether it is by use of print, such as newspapers or magazines, or by broadcast, by means of television, radio and the internet, the media has a way of presenting information to suit its purpose, whatever that may be. “In the print media 90 percent of all world news comes from just a handful of powerful Western sources. Three agencies, Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France Presse dominate our foreign news. One is American, one is British and the other is French. Reuters and AP now make most of their huge profits selling financial and corporate information. Today their newsrooms are centers of the free market crusade. AP gets most of its funding from American clients and devotes most of its coverage to the United States.” (Pilger 1996) Given all of this information, it is no wonder that the media has difficulty in its representation of diversity, as many times different ethnic backgrounds are grossly misrepresented or deliberately depicted. One such ethnic group that has suffered at the hands of the media is the Latino/Hispanic community. Using a series of images and words that were collected from the internet and newspapers, this essay will seek to reflect on the positive and negative connotations of these images and words. Latinos have generally been negatively stereotyped in the media as poor, uneducated, lazy, and violent. Another popular representation of Latinos is that they have poor language skills, and that they are gang members, teen mothers, illegal immigrants, drug dealers and traffickers, and common criminals. When it comes to stereotyping Latinos, the media tends to translate everything negatively. Comfortable sexuality is labeled as prostitution; having a lot of kids is associated with being impoverished and acting assertive is viewed as ‘macho’. I would say, however, that without a doubt, the most overwhelming Latino representation in the media deals with immigration. With states such as Arizona and Georgia establishing immigration laws and (a) Latino Profiling Law(s) (specifically in Arizona), there has been a dramatic increase in... Show More

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