Media portrayal of disease Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 3 January 2017

Media portrayal of disease

The media has long served as the major instrument for communication in most of the societies around the world. The media is significantly powerful in influencing how society should think, as well as swaying the public with regards to particular issues of public and even private, concern. It has been observed that issues that are largely visible and associated with majority of the society often take the center of attention of the media and information is then made public through television, newspapers and magazines.

For example, the media has provided comprehensive reports of international issues such as the terrorist attacks in the United States of September 11, 2001. It should be noted that since the issue of terrorism is of global concern, the media has included the angle of ethnic diversity among the victims of the 2001 terrorist attack, wherein the victims were of at least 20 different ethnicities and cultural backgrounds.

Although the cultures and beliefs of each nationality remain intact, the media has positively influenced the public to believe and accept the fact that the terrorist attack of 2001 should not only be a concern of the United States, but also of the rest of the countries around the world, as shown by the cultural diversity of the victims. It is thus important that media provide an unbiased, yet comprehensive method in communicating information and news to the public. However, there are certain incidents wherein media has portrayed a bias opinion on certain issues that are associated with particular ethnic groups or cultures.

For example, media has been strongly reporting on homicide cases in the Los Angeles area of California, thus implying to the public that the Los Angeles area is not a safe location to live in. The analysis of Taylor and Sorenson (2002) showed that the media organizations that commonly cover homicide cases in the Los Angeles area would only report on the homicide cases of particular ethnic groups and thus this media effort does not convey a good image of this particular ethnic group to the rest of the society (Hagihara et al. , 2005). The method of delivery of an event by the media also influences the way the public perceives the issue.

The manner of delivery also determines how the public understands particular issues. For example, if the media provides a biased view of a medical disorder, then the public who has viewed the video or read the newspaper magazine will also think the same way as the media has portrayed the issue. This problem has been pointed out in a number of research reports and these have even suggested that medical practitioners and biomedical researchers assist media personnel in order to deliver unbiased and credible reports to the public (Wilson et al. , 2004).

In the case of breast cancer among Ashkenazi Jews, media has to yet fully understand that this medical genetic disease does affect all ethnicities, yet the Jews are particularly prone due to the presence of founder mutations. Hence, media should be cautious in the delivery of news that is associated with particular human populations because the manner of portrayal often influences the rest of the reading and viewing public However, it should also be taken note that media has also positively served the public by providing awareness of the other ethnic groups and their associated cultures and beliefs.

In several scientific reports, it has already been shown that media also takes a large influence on the knowledge and beliefs of society on specific medical issues, despite differences in ethnic beliefs and cultures (Donelle et al. , 2005; Chen et al. , 2008). It has also been reported the each individual bases his awareness of specific health-related issues through reading advertisements and magazines, yet there are particular mass media items that are patronized by specific ethnic groups and cultures (Rogers, 2002; Duerksen et al., 2005; Van Duyn et al. , 2007).

Media thus plays a major role in the dissemination of information as well as portraying diversity in society.


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