The power or ability of the media to influence people and the society is an undeniable reality. In fact, media is not to be underestimated as proven by the implications it has created among people and within their way of living. It is through this reason or principle that the media is regarded as something that is too powerful and which can be paralleled to the power of God. In particular, since the print and broadcast or electronic media have control over their respective public, its influence has apparently been considered as similar or equal to the Creator’s authority.
However, while it is a true fact that the media encompasses almost everything in today’s modern world, it is also a reality that the industry could never be described as the second God. This is because God is above everything and that nothing or nobody can correspond to Him. Additionally, although the effects of media are indisputable, it should be realized that God is still supreme among the whole things and that nothing or no one comes next to Him.
It is, therefore, under this principle that media should never be compared to the power of God and that whatever theory claiming otherwise should not be taken as the whole and acceptable concept. Ultimately, the media and all other things are nothing without God hence it is totally unwarranted to compare and place it next or even regard it as the second God.
One concrete manifestation of the said improper and erroneous consideration is the principle created by Western theorist Tony Schwartz and as depicted in his book titled “Media, the Second God. The work done by Schwartz (1983) is nothing but a disillusioned idea about the power of media, electronic media in particular. While it is, in a way, acceptable that both print and broadcast media impacted people and the manner of living, it is totally illogical to compare or even consider media as the second God. In fact, the author has evidently failed to strengthen his idea. This is primarily for the reason that God is the highest or absolute among us and of all the things around us.
Hence, Schwartz and his book can be taken according only to its merit or the fact that media is influential and definitely affects people and the society in general but its concept about media as the second God should definitely not be considered and accepted as an utmost premise. Media, the Second God – an Overview The Schwartz book explores media’s mounting power or influence in the fields of medicine, learning, industry, political affairs and beliefs and daily living of people. He distinguished electronic media as the “received media” while print media as a “perceived medium” (Schwartz, 1983, p. 1).
In differentiating between the two, Schwartz emphasized that skill and education are essential for the public to recognize and accept perceived media while almost all people appreciate received media. The author explained that the contemporary world tends to the appreciation of the received media because of the increasing effect of electronic media in the manner how people carry out their lives. This particular age of reception manifests people dependence with the telephone, television, radio and other forms of electronic media.
He added that the significant implications of electronic or received media are evident with the notable changes in the areas of “business, communication, education, statesmanship, and every other area of life” (Schwartz, 1983, p. 17). Schwartz further wrote that the advent and increasing influence of electronic media has proven its essence as the new media. Additionally, the power of the electronic media is supported by the authors with the ways how broadcast commercials or advertisements work among people and into their lives.
In fact, electronic media has nearly removed the nature of door-to-door salespersons. This is because the radio and television as well as other forms of electronic media are able to get across the feelings, manner and value of products being promoted (Schwartz, 1983, p. 43). Schwartz also presented in his book how a telephone polling system, which is another form of electronic media, created an impact or changed people’s perception about the necessity of police protection against crime and eventually saved the John Jay College of Criminal Justice from closure (Schwartz, 1983, p. 1).
Moreover, Schwartz has stressed the influence of electronic media with its social functions or the services it has offered not only to people but to the society as well. The book is ultimately recalled with its depiction of the incredible expansion of the telephone device as an absolute form of electronic media due to its tremendous influence into the lives of the people. Media, the Second God – a Critique In analyzing the Schwartz book, one is likely to experience a sense of depression because of the author’s apparent utopianism.
Simply put, Schwartz’s idea of the growing purpose or role of the electronic media, particularly the telephone device, seemed too disillusioned or unrealistic. In particular, it is totally illogical and even less reassuring to discover when the author stated that the telephone device is on the rise as an instrument or another tool of electronic media in the field of education. In fact, his admission that the development of telephone seems to be gradual already contradicted his position that the devise is growing.
The said disclosure also deserted Schwartz claim that the said device is an effective tool of learning primarily because of the apparent defect of the telephone. Even Schwartz’s claim that a number of students benefited from telephone-based classes failed to prove the effectivity and power of the telephone as a means of education. In short, it is unbelievable to state that an instruction about telephone is as convincing as an efficient method of learning. Damaging and Unproven Claims
Schwart’s consideration of the media as the second God is subjected to the author’s many falsehoods as well as damaging and unsupported statements. An incredible claim by Schwartz is his statement that he was able to teach around the world even without leaving the luxury of his office through the use of the portable conference telephone. This is because despite the advancement of the electronic media, particularly the telephone device, it is still subjected to or not totally free from interruptions or technical obstacles.
Hence, while the said statement tends to be probable, it is not the case all the time. At the highlight of the book’s chapter titled “The Incredible Expanding Telephone,” the author’s amusing tale about his American Museum of Natural History’s Laserium experience apparently sabotaged himself. It was a totally lame excuse when he said that while appropriately structured utilization of the telephone device has the ability of giving many important and useful services, it is still susceptible to problems as its poor plan may lead to telephone failure.
Again, this time Schwartz contradicted and exposed himself to criticism. The author’s above manifestations of self-sabotage represent his usual characteristics as a highly-acclaimed sound designer, producer or creator of promotional advertisements or commercials and telecommunications teacher at New York University. Schwart’s self-sabotage is further proven by another bungle which he wrote in an earlier chapter of the book titled “The Electronic Classroom. In the said chapter, he extolled on the possibilities of working on recorded items as a form of education aid but again failed. This is because Schwartz offered the following simply as his solid proof of evidence: sound of family members fighting with each other, a walking manic depressive and a telephone dialogue, which he previously taped, with a person planning to commit suicide. Unfortunately for the readers, the said examples of Schwart’s self-sabotage were clearly depicted in the book.
Either intentionally or not, the author and his work already lost its efficiency and credibility because Schwartz failed to prove or support his idea that the media, electronic media in particular, is the second God. This is because, unparalleled to God who is perfect, media has its flaws. As regard his other consideration of media as the second God, Schwartz’s once more not succeeded in his another declaration that refined or high-quality and efficient electronic advertisements can definitely sell substandard merchandise on a limited period.
This claim has totally contradicted electronic media’s commercials about cigarette products which the author himself praised regretfully in the book. In fact, even his self-tribute chapter on how he envisioned and organized the fight which eventually saved the John Jay College was another proof of his personal destruction. This is because the author again fell short of bringing up any issue of essence or importance regarding the reason behind why the said educational institution is really important to be kept. Resemblance of Respect for God
Notwithstanding the above stated flaws, the public may be able to contemplate what is really appealing and motivating about the Schwart’s book. One manifestation of such interesting quality and which is worthy to note is how strongly the people’s outlooks concerning the media certainly remind the readers of our admiration and high esteem for God. Additionally, due to the undeniable influence and assistance of the electronic media, people in post literate or deprived societies are better educated than people of the previous history accounts.
Another manifestation of the book’s resemblance of respect for God is the fact that similar to our worship to the Creator, people and the society have high esteem about the need to protect and preserve human life. This is the reason why people in the countryside are too much worried about the proliferation and gravity of street crimes in other areas as what the electronic media is presenting. This is also due to the inclination of people to associate themselves with the people of other societies which they see on television or hear on radio.
Media as Provider of Information, an Argument The last thing that is unacceptable to Schwart’s claims is his dispute that due to the overwhelming pieces of information which is accessible to people through electronic media, particularly television, the necessity to learn or specifically to write and read is not that immediate compared to before the arrival and development of the electronic media. With a benefit of the doubt, the author may not have intended this claim as a justification of illiteracy or an assertion that the skill to write and read has not benefits.
However, he once again did not succeed in satisfactory stressing that in spite how much people grasp the manner of view and sound or noise due to advance contact or experience of the electronic media, there will still be difficulty in assessment and communication not unless people have learned and are able to write and read. One concrete manifestation of the said argument is Schwartz himself. This is for the reason that there could be a link between his usually disordered, self-conflicting claims and lines of reasoning as well as his automatic and ripped-ridden works.
In fact, if not of too much criticism, the author may be literally depicted based from his own claim when he wrote that he led the class for school students who are regarded as “poor readers and poor listeners” (Schwarts, 1983, p. 128). This observation may be disputed by Schwartz himself especially taking into consideration his surprising power at influencing electronic reflections where even the power of verbal confidence may not be necessary to let the public have a glimpse of the author’s severe yet unproven perspectives and statements. Conclusion
There have been many works exemplifying and proving the power or influence of the media to people and the society in general but the Schwartz book is certainly not one of them. This is because of the apparent misleading writing scheme and unsupported concepts presented by the author. While, in a way, he succeeded in imparting to the public the truth about the ability of the media, particularly the electronic media, to affect people and their way of living, his confusing or disillusioned ideas and claims are proof that nothing or no one can equal to God’s level.
Schwartz was totally wrong in conveying the idea that the media is the second God for the simple reason that no other entity can be placed next to God, much so paralleled with Him. A critical analysis of the Schwartz book exposes the ineffectivity of the author in his approach to convey his ideas and eventually make the public agree. Additionally, the book unfortunately showed its inadequate and unproven content as well as the substance of the author’s line of thinking. In effect, Schwartz failed in whatever objective he has in doing the book.
This is because his intentions are not met and eventually turned out to be futile efforts. The book is nothing but a collection of unsupported concepts and disenchanted theories. Schwartz’s approach or style is not well-founded and convincing simply because of the fact that his main idea that media is the second God is an outright contradiction of the existing view that there is nothing next or even equal to God. The topic about the power or influence of media is definitely relevant or that the material itself is appealing or that the writing style and quality somehow corresponds to the body of literature of that period.
However, these good points were immaterial because the author and the book failed in the accuracy or reliability of thoughts organization. This is aside from the fact that majority of the contentions presented by Schwartz were unsupported. For this, it can be construed that the book is generally not valuable to be provided with attention and relevance. Ultimately, Schwartz and his work can be held liable for insinuating the principle that media is the second God precisely for reality that media is a creation of man who, in turn, could not be created without the power of God.
Courtney from Study Moose
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