Trust in Mass Media

I believe that after the most recent election that trust in the media has gone down, especially on sites such as Facebook and Twitter. There are numerous articles on Facebook, due to the election, that are misleading by spreading misinformation and propaganda about candidates. These misleading articles produced far more attention to its audience than ordinary, reliable, sources did. People tend to share and read stories on their Facebook that appeal to their emotions and beliefs. Individuals with a preconceived bias are more likely to share the lies that are fed to them by Facebook news and influence other peoples opinions. Many individuals do not understand that the post is from an inaccurate source. For example, because of Facebooks increasingly dominant role in the news, individuals such as my grandma/the older population, do not fully comprehend that not everything they read is true. She comes to me about insane stories all the time and I have to explain to her why and how it is not true. Because of mass media increasing in todays society, individuals need to be aware that anyone can write an article so that they can potentially influence a variety of people to believe the way they also believe.

I do not have much trust in mainstream media, such as buzzfeed and or even some articles from CNN. I generally follow and trust BBC and The Economist when it comes to what is actually happening in the World. Conservative and leaning news outlets are the ones that I tend to trust less and have skepticism towards. Also, the way that the President of the United States uses social media highly effects citizens. By either making them feel uncomfortable and undermined or empowered and enlightened. It impacts the way in which people view themselves and others. Donald Trumps social media account on twitter is a modern example of how social media that is used by presidents can be a negative thing. There are many upsides to social media; however, the misleading information that Trump tends to spread, such that “Twitter, google, and Facebook are burying the FBI criminal investigation of Clinton,” is a false announcements that is trying to get a rise out of people and sway the way they view someone else.

If I am ever to share anything on Facebook that I think is reliable, I try to make sure to triple check it before I spread it to my friends.

Media Overload

I believe we have a problem with media overload. Considering the numbers, it is hard to believe many do not have a problem with it. The average American spends about 13.6 hours consuming media in dozens of different forms. With increases in technology advances, more and more options of media have become available for users. While mediums in the media are exponentially growing,  fact- based, multiple sourced journalism is dying. With smart phones and easy access to the Internet, almost anyone has the ability to be a journalist. This could be seen as positive or negative. On the negative side, anyone’s ideas, opinions, beliefs or biases can be published to the public and shared for people all over the world to see it. On the positive side, we are able to get first-hand experiences about an event, for example a video of a shooting, which decreases the story-twists reported by second or third hand accounts. With information constantly being thrown at users, it can be difficult to know which media sources to trust. We should encourage people to interact with media by asking questions first. Before trusting a media source, one should ask themselves if this is a news report, or an opinion piece. Also, users should ask themselves if the main point of the piece was proven by evidence. If the writer makes arguments, but fails to back them up, readers must be conscious of this when considering the credibility. It is important to look at the source before sharing the information. By sharing false information, it just adds to the media overload Americans are experiencing. An example that comes to mind is Facebook posts. Practically anyone can become a writer for The Odyssey, which is an opinion-based blog that allows writers to post about almost anything. These have become very popular and are often reblogged by the younger generations. These articles are not news sources, in fact, they are written by average people looking for an outlet for their thoughts and ideas. It is important to teach users not to trust everything they see online. If we can accomplish this, the overall media overload should decrease.

Extra Credit: Marketing vs Education

Marketing and education have similar ideas behind them, but they have vastly different results. Marketing seeks to inform a user about a product or service available to him or her. Education about a product can also be said to do the same, but marketing is biased. A company does not want to let you know all the  gritty details about its products. It only needs you see the benefits of making the purchase without an of the possible hazards or repercussions. Education seeks to inform about all facets of something. If you were to education someone on a product, you would not leave out any details.

For example, a company could release a new brand of bathroom cleaning solution. It could work incredibly well at removing stains, and the marketing team would most likely try to advertise that fact as well as they could. A fraction of the proceeds from the product could even be donated to a charity, and the marketing team would likely be very vocal about that part. However, imagine that the product has a small chance of releasing fumes that can cause illness. The marketing team would probably never mention this and likely just affix a small warning label. If a user were to be educated about this product all of facets would become known even the negative ones. Green Washing is a similar example. A company just advertises the biased environmental facts or skewed views like how shopper can go green by choosing not to use a bag when it trains cashiers to always bag sold items. Marketing seems to just be a biased form of education. It feeds the public what they want to hear in order to elicit the results that it needs from them. Proper education and research of products is the only way to obtain the truth.

Environmental Audit


As well as taking Intro to Environmental Studies and Sustainability, I am also taking Global Health.  About a week ago we had an out of class assignment that was called an Environmental Audit, where we could pick from different projects to do that would take about two hours of our time.  I choose to go to a grocery store, in particular Harris Teeter in Mount Pleasant, and look at how many varies there were of different fruits, vegetables, and other foods. I was also looking at the price point per pound of these foods given on the list.  I was actually very interested in this project, mainly because I was curious to see what the outcomes would be.

When I walked into Harris Teeter, I went straight to the produce sections because the first foods to look at were bananas, apples, oranges, etc. I found that looking for the number of varieties there were a lot more than I honestly realized before coming.

While I was looking at all the different kinds of grapes, one of the store employees came up to me asking if I needed help.  I didn’t but we continued to talk about my school project.  He told me a lot about the differences of organic and non-organic foods. He said that the way they have to treat these foods is much different.  For example, the containers they come in are placed away from the non-organic, the sinks are different as well as the knifes, gloves, refrigerators, and the way they are stocked are all different. Harris Teeter also has their own composting system that helps because of how much waste they have due to the fruits and vegetables going bad so quickly.  I found all this information so crazy. Although I know it has been talked about in class, I just feel like hearing it from the actual store employees made it all so real about what it takes for something to truly being organic and why it all costs more to eat.

There was a lot more about this Audit that I found interesting like all the difference varieties and what made them so different, so below are the pictures of the Environmental Audit I conducted.  I am really glad that this assignment was assigned because I was really able to take the classroom information we have been learning and apply it at the actual grocery store.


Extra Credit: Media and Politics

Politics and the media have been a big issue for years now.  Politics and media benefit from one another in different ways.  One of the main ways is that political outputs and politics in general give the media plenty to talk about and as they talk about it, it gives them plenty to misconstrue.  When it comes to polls and who you want to vote for, this is one of the main issues with knowing which candidates are actually reliable and knowing if what the media is saying about them is even reliable information.  People who work for places like Fox News or CNN, they are the main news sources that like to play around with political information and completely bash different candidates that are running for things such as president. A great example of this is when Hillary Clinton and President Donald Trump ran against each other back for the 2016 presidential race.  Media outlets were constantly bashing the two pulling up things from their pasts to have something to make a story about them and grab the audience’s attention by doing so.  When they do this, they are portraying negative images to the audience to make them feel a certain way about whatever is going on.  The media outlets during presidential elections will feed off of negativity for whoever they do not like and give that to the audience or they will take something that they have said in the past or present and add more to it to make it more interesting or to make it have something negative about it. With this being said, I think it is important to realize that not all media outlets or news sources give the most reliable information about politics.  They make everything seem so much bigger than it is or they make a politician’s accomplishments seem smaller than they are.

Extra Credit: What’s the Difference between Marketing and Education?

Before taking classes based on public health and the environment, I would have told you that marketing and education are similar in many ways.  After taking classes on these subjects, though, I would have to say that they aren’t as much alike as I previously thought.  Marketing and education is basically profit vs. helping.

When companies are marketing their products, they may tell the truth about them but for the most part the truth is tweaked or over-exaggerated.  Many companies market that their products are “green” or “eco-friendly” or “low fat.”  But are the products they are marketing really as safe and healthy for the consumers as the company makes them out to be?  Companies want their products to sell so when marketing them, a consumer may not get an honest truth.  Or, the consumer may get a potion of the truth.  This can often happen when a product says “LOW FAT” in capital letters on the front but then when you turn the product over, in tiny letters are all of the issues the product has or could cause.

When a company is educating their consumers, they want them to know the facts.  The company will tell their consumers the truth, bad or not.  When educating someone about an issue or product, the person will be presented with facts that do not glamorize or make the product look better.  It is important when educating to not have a bias.

Overall, marketing is a way to make something look good and to make consumers buy the product regardless of if the product is actually 100% what they are telling the consumer it is or not.  Education on the other hand is more about keeping your consumers safe, no matter the profit.  Marketing is a method that is used to bring in profit while education is a method that is used to keep healthy consumers.


Mainstream News Media

With the recent presidential election, as well as our recent class lecture on the topic of mainstream news media truthfulness, curiosity was sparked as to whether or not mainstream news can be trusted. If it’s mainstream, at first glimpse I would assume that all of the information is correct. After doing some further research, I formed the opinion that oftentimes mainstream news media cannot be trusted. I say this because at the end of the day, the media industry is in it for one thing only, which is the money. In my opinion, they may act like they are doing a service to the public by providing them with informative information, when it reality it’s oftentimes the total opposite.

I have seen examples on TV of CNN telling one side of the story on President Trump, while Fox News tells a complete other side of the story. As for which media outlet is correct, that’s ultimately for the consumer to decide upon. My point is to simply make the consumer aware of the possibility that not all news sources, including mainstream news, is accurate. I try very hard to be cautious of trusting news distributed on social media because I have already learned my lesson that you can’t believe everything you see online. It’s known that individuals tend to make up lies in order to gain attention, whether that be good or bad attention. At the same time, I usually try to remind myself to be cautious of mainstream media just as I am with social media and satirical news sources.

If someone is unsure of whether or not an article they are reading online is true or not, my first recommendation would be to check and see what source the article is from. This information is usually found at the bottom of the page. From here, an individual can simply input this news source into google and read reviews/opinions of the selected news source written by consumers alike. As for myself, if I check to see which news source an online article is from, and for example the news source is “Webscamz”, I won’t even waste my time researching this source or believing any of the content in the article. The reliability of a news source for myself is measured in the ratings received by other consumers. I trust in others  like myself quite a bit when it comes to something I am unfamiliar with. At the end of the day, even a well regarded news source has the possibility of publishing an inaccurate news article. Always be weary of what you read these days.

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