HOW TO BE A CRITICAL MEDIA VIEWER
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 http://www.thenation.com/special/bigten.html)
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.