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The mass media serve as a system for communicating messages and symbols to the general populace Herman and Chomsky 1994 1 From surfing the worldwide web to picking up a newspaper in the morning from watching the nighttime news to switching on our mobile phones mass media is all around us in everything we do and we cant escape it We are in a period of media saturation Television is the best media example to use because watching television is the most common home based leisure activity for men and women in the UK and other western countries as well Macionis and Plummer 2002 712 This indicates that television is likely to have an impact on the way people shape their ideas and how they view reality The mass media has been around since the printing press and since newspapers started becoming commonplace Since the beginnings of mainstream media those at the top have tried to shape our views through its use Im going to try and show in this essay using the 1991 Gulf War as a case study that the ruling class ie big business through overseeing the media try and make us believe what they want us to believe about the world outside our immediate social milieu This management of the media though may not always be able to shape reality to everyones satisfaction even though it leaves little scope for debate and follows already perceived social norms For example as Kellner 1995 points out only 1 of the mainstream television coverage of the 1991 Gulf War offered dissenting voices towards the war yet there was still a significant percentage of Americans concerned about opposed to the war against Saddam According to the pluralist way of thinking the media should play a key role in the democratic process by providing information open debate and opportunity to share beliefs with others If this was the
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