Critical thinking about the media.

1. Remember that all media images and messages are constructions. Ads and other media messages have been carefully crafted with the intent to send a very specific message.

2. Question why certain messages are consistently present in mainstream media and why others are absent.

3. Look closely at the appearance of media images: the colors, the editing, the camera angles, the appearance of the people (are they young and happy?), the location, and the sound or type of text.

4. Compare media images and portrayals of your surrounding environment with your reality. Make a list of the differences so that you are more aware of them.

5. Investigate the source of the media images you encounter. Who owns the network that your favorite television show is on? What else does that corporation own? How does the ownership structure of media affect the news and
entertainment we receive? (Media Ownership Chart

6. What other stories about the world exist than those you see in the media? (About relationships, health, peace & war, materialism, gender, finances, violence, globalization, sex, love, etc.)

Media Education Foundation 2005

I would add that you need to inform yourself from real sources of information (books written by knowledgeable people, specialized web sites, real-life knowledge). Being able to understand facts in context (something you very rarely, if ever, get if you watch the news or “experts” discussing issues) is your best way of acquiring a capacity for critical thinking about the messages propagated by the mass media.

One thought on “Critical thinking about the media.

  1. Independent Radical October 1, 2015 at 03:29

    I would add that it is a good idea to read about the effects of media images on the people who consume them. Psychology articles are a great source of information about this (particularly articles that look into the effects of violent media). I am certained that this list focuses a little too much on the intentions of those who create the media. In my view, whether the capitalists who run the media are consciously and deliberately trying to send harmful messages is not nearly as important as the real world effects of those messages (which exist regardless of the effects), though I would never overestimate the moral decency of those seeking profit above all else.

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