GP Media Essay: ‘We can no longer trust the media.’ Is this a fair comment?

This is one of the most important GP Media essay question that you have to know if you are looking to focus on Media for your examinations. So, our team has prepared for you a concise, detailed and especially helpful Cheat Sheet for you!

Why? This is because of the political and social climate today. Fake news, misinformation and lies have defined our world today. We now live in a post-truth era, where truth is not objective anymore and can be morphed into any shape or form.

Let’s dive into our Cheat Sheet that our team has specially prepared for you!

GP Media Cheat Sheet: ‘We can no longer trust the media.’ Is this a fair comment?

Firstly, let’s argue that we can still trust the media.

Point 1: As people become inundated with information, the media has a more important journalistic role of fact-checking and truth-telling.

  • Fake news was being circulated about Hilary Clinton operating a paedophilic sex ring out of pizza restaurants in America. This even led a misinformed gunman to storm into one of the restaurants involved and fire a few shots. The media played an important role in debunking this fictitious conspiracy theory. The New York Times investigated the story and informed readers that the story was unfounded.

Point 2: The investigative role of the media is still highly trustworthy in this aspect.

  • In 2001 and 2002, the Boston Globe investigated and exposed sexual harassments of young boys and girls by Roman Catholic Priests, and how the state tried to cover up for the priests. The Boston Globe won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, for uncovering the scandal.

To spice up our essay and earn those Evaluation marks, let’s have a rebuttal for one of our points. Specifically, Point 2.

Rebuttal: The investigative departments, together with other journalists, are shrinking.

  • In the past 15 years, more than half the jobs in the news industry have disappeared, according to a US Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is due to falling revenues in news agencies. Inevitably, investigative journalists will begin to shrink in numbers too.

Now, we can argue that we can no longer trust the media.

Point 1: As the profit margin of the industry tightens, the media has become less reliable since media companies struggle to deliver high quality content.

  • Even renowned newspaper, the New York Times (NYT), has been publishing regular advertorials for ExxonMobil discrediting science behind climate change. These advertorials on the NYT frequently argue that more evidence is needed about climate change despite the long-established scientific consensus.

Point 2: Journalists today are being targeted by powerful forces, hindering their ability to report truthfully.

  • Journalists covering the ongoing drug war in Mexico are at grave risks. In 2017, a prolific journalist known as Javier Valdez Cardenas, famous for such in-depth pieces on “narcos” (referring to drug cartels), was shot dead with twelve bullets in his chest.

Point 3: Today’s media is much more concentrated in a handful of media conglomerates, limiting the diversity of opinions in the media.

  • Comcast, the largest conglomerate, alone owns NBC News, CNBC, Universal Pictures, Dreamworks and Euronews. Its 2018 revenue was over $90 billion.

Point 4: As the media today has become more hyper-partisan than ever, its reliability is called into question.

  • News agencies have become involved politically, leading some newsrooms to overly favour certain political parties. For example, CNN and MNBC in USA are famously pro-Democrats while Fox is pro-Republicans. This has led to political bias in their reporting.

And finally, to impress your examiners, we highly recommend memorising this point!

Special Point: The reality is that the media, with its tainted history of state control and sensationalism, was never a trustworthy source of information.

  • The Turkish newspaper, Zaman, was initially very critical of the President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. However, a government takeover in 2016 replaced some of the journalists. The paper switched its stance overnight and immediately began publishing a series of pro-government articles.
  • In 1987, the Far Eastern Economic Review (FEER), a weekly magazine, was forced to restrict circulation (from 10,000 copies to 500 copies) by the Singapore government after publishing an article about the detention of Roman Catholic Church workers. In 2006, the FEER was sued for defamation by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and forced to close.

If you find this GP Media Essay Cheat Sheet useful, do take a look at our other Media Cheat Sheets as well. Additionally, we have posted a three-part Media Essay Series on our Instagram page (@firstclass.gp). Do take a look at them as we believe they are beneficial in your learning!

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